Minister Smotrich: 'Stark secular coercion'

Minister attacks ruling against printing press that refused to print LGBT material: 'Insane, grievous, and outrageous.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Betzalel Smotrich
Betzalel Smotrich
Flash 90

Transport Minister Betzalel Smotrich criticized the judgment by Be'er Sheva Magistrate's Court Judge Orit Lipshitz, who accepted the "LGBT Association's" claim against a printing press that refused to create and print banners with LGBT content.

"It's an insane, grievous, and outrageous judgment requiring a person who lives according to the Torah and obeys its commandments to act contrary to his beliefs in his private business. Stark secular coercion," Minister Smotrich tweeted.

He noted that, "The verdict is based on a distorted interpretation of the law and it seems there's no choice but to amend the Prohibition of Discrimination Law and expressly state in it the 'trivial' right of the religious public to act in accordance with its beliefs in its own private space."

Smotrich added, "It's important to stress: This is not a refusal to provide a LGBT with a service qua LGBT (such as refusal to print an invitation for a LGBT son's bar mitzvah for that reason only). Rather, it is refusing to print a poster for the Pride Parade, which is halakhically prohibited in toto.

"The refusal was due to the content of the advertisement and not the identity of the customer and is therefore not discriminatory under the existing law," the Minister argued.

Following the decision, the judge ordered the printing house to pay plaintiffs a sum of 50,000 shekels.

The incident took place about three years ago, when students from the "Proud Cell" at Ben-Gurion University asked for a quote for print materials. In response to the request, the printing press asked the applicants not to send gender disorientation material to the printing press: "We don't deal with abomination materials, we're Jews."

After this email, no direct communication was received from the students, but only through a lawyer who, to the amazement of the printing house, sought to pursue a legal claim of NIS 100,000.

Attorney Menashe Yado of the Honenu legal aid organization represented the printing press. Attorney Yado presented to the court two opinions of rabbis who stated that according to Jewish law the owners of the printing press cannot print such material. Advocate Yado also argued that the printing press could not be obligated to produce a unique product for a client which violates his beliefs and Jewish law.

In her decision, the judge wrote, "Where there exists conflict between faith and the necessity to provide service in a public place, the latter takes precedence," while stating that the prohibition of discrimination in products, services, and entry into entertainment venues and public places must be interpreted broadly, and that it supersedes religious freedom. Another point the judge ruled is that business owners must be required to provide service not only in shelf products, but also in unique production for a paying customer.