Stormy Knesset Committee Meeting on the "Pride" Parade

Efforts are continuing, inside the Knesset and out, to disallow the international homosexual parade scheduled for next month in Jerusalem. The Shas Party has some leverage.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 1:20 PM

The Knesset Interior Committee held a raucous meeting on the topic today. MK
Yitzchak Levy (National Union/NRP) presented a survey showing that a large majority of the public - including a full 63% of the secular public - is against holding the gay pride parade in Jerusalem.

Among the public defining itself as traditional, the number was 81%, and among the religious, 99-100%.

"Don't force yourselves upon a city that clearly doesn't want you," Levy said.

MK Shelly Yechimovitch (Labor) said that precisely for this reason the parade must be held: "Majority groups don't have to demand their rights; only minorities do." Arutz-7 noted, via the MK's spokesman, that the parade was not designed to demand rights, but rather to exhibit "pride" in their personal inclinations. The spokesman was unsuccessful in obtaining her response to this point before her presence was required in the afternoon Knesset session.

Arab MK Ibrahim Tzartzur came out against the parade, and added that in the Moslem sector, "we have no such problem." This, as opposed to the common perception that homosexuality in Moslem countries is a prevalent phenomenon. At a pan-Arab conference held at Oxford University back in 2000, for instance, a widely-quoted researcher said, "In prison, same-sex sex is the norm. Saudi Arabia is just a large prison."

Jerusalem councilman David Hadari (NRP), speaking on Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine today, said, "The municipality of Jerusalem has been prevented by the legal system from trying to stop the homosexual parade. This is a mark of shame for the court system, but that is the situation... At present, only the police can stop the parade, based on considerations of public peace and safety. The police have not yet issued a permit, and we are trying to arouse public pressure so that the permit will not be issued."

"It is ironic," Hadari noted, "that we're working with Moslems and Christians against the parade. At one point, I suggested facetiously that if there is to be a parade in Jerusalem, let it be in eastern Jerusalem - and immediately the Arabs refused, saying that they would kill the participants... The Knesset is also trying to apply pressure, and I'm still optimistic that it can be stopped."

One sensitive issue is that those fighting against the Jerusalem venue might agree to have the march in Tel Aviv - even though the same considerations of "not defiling the Holy Land" would still apply. Asked about this, Hadari did not give a categorical answer:
"I don't think it should be held anywhere in this Jewish state; but it's even more unacceptable to have it in the Holy City of Jerusalem. If the gay parade was canceled in Tel Aviv, as it was a while back, then certainly it shouldn't be held in the Holy City!"

Rabbi Yehuda Levin of New York, who is leading a campaign to stop the World Pride event from being held anywhere in Israel, is very wary that religious Knesset Members might agree to such a compromise.

"From hearing the way some of them have been talking," Levin told Arutz-7, "I smell a compromise that will allow the homosexuals to hold their parade in Tel Aviv, and then to creep into Jerusalem as well, with all their spiritual filth, and causing the same Arab outrage. So we have to stop it not only in Jerusalem, but all over the Land; we have to defend the spirituality of the entire Land."

He reminded listeners that photographs of previous parades held around the world show participants barely clad and engaging in suggestive behavior.

Rabbi Levin encourages the religious public to warn the religious MKs that they will not receive its support in future elections if they go along with this compromise:
"G-d forbid they should betray the Jewish people internationally. They have to know that they will pay a political price for it."

He also warned the religious-Zionist public in general:
"This is a 'measure for measure' affair: If we allow the land to be raped, so to speak, by perverted sexual messages, then, as the Torah says, such Canaanite acts will be punished by having the Land 'vomit you out,' Heaven forbid."

Councilman Hadari had some criticism of the Shas hareidi-religious party for not including this issue in its coalition demands:
"Shas should inform Olmert right now that if the parade is held, it will quit the government. It's not unheard-of - just like the NRP once [in the 1970s] quit the coalition when F-16 jets from the U.S. landed in Israel an hour after the Sabbath started..."

Shas government ministers can be faxed at (+9722) 666-2923 (Eli Yishai), 670-6157 (Yitzchak Cohen), 649-6447 (Meshulam Nahari), and 670-6372 (Ariel Atias).