President Reuven Rivlin: 'Being gay not a disease requiring treatment"

President Rivlin chastises Rabbi Dror Aryeh, head of Sderot yeshiva, for attacking comments he made in support of the LGBT community.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

President Reuven Rivlin adjusts his kippah during speech in Germany’s Bundestag
President Reuven Rivlin adjusts his kippah during speech in Germany’s Bundestag

Maariv Hebrew-language news site reported that Israel's President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter to Rabbi Dror Aryeh, Head of the 'Afikai Da'at' pre-army yeshiva in Sderot, in response to the rabbi's criticism of Rivlin's remarks during a meeting with LGBT organizations.

"The trend in itself is not a disease that requires treatment," Rivlin stated.

In his comments, Rabbi Aryeh called on the president not to provide legitimacy to LGBT organizations "who try to institutionalize serious sins under the guise of understanding, empathy, and equality" and that "Israel's president meeting them and providing them legitimacy is like rubbing salt on a national wound." The rabbi also noted that while he was not in favor of LGBT conversion therapy, "There are certainly worthwhile ways to return to a normal [way of life], and allow them to fulfill the dream of building a family."

In a letter addressed to the rabbi, the president wrote: "I am not a religious Jew, but the Jewish identity of the State of Israel is important to me as well as its democratic nature. To me, Judaism plays a critical role in Israel's public domain. My view of Judaica is that it must be accessible to everyone and I believe in upholding Jewish law through legal rulings and legislation."

"However," the president added, "I do not share your stance on the LGBT community. Numerous Israelis have profited from the services of qualified clinical psychologists licensed by the Ministry of Health in a wide range of personal issues, which is perfectly fine, but the LGBT way of life isn't one of these."

Rivlin stated that this has been his belief over the years. "I believe that every person has the right to select their lifestyle, including a Torah way of life. I respect those who choose that kind of life, and I expect you, as a rabbi and school instructor in the State of Israel, to respect their decision to pursue their conscience decisions as well," he added.

"If we are to preserve the Jewish identity in the public sphere of the State of Israel, we must maintain a respectful discourse, listening and trying to understand each other. We are brothers and must stand on guard of the only country that's ours," concluded Rivlin.