Rabbi Shlomo Amar
Rabbi Shlomo AmarFlash 90

Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar spoke with Israel Hayom on various topics involving religion and state.

Addressing the efforts of the Reform movement to create an “egalitarian” prayer space at the Western Wall, Rabbi Amar called the Reform movement “wicked.”

Rabbi Amar also called the “LGBT community” a “sect. It is a sect whose acts are without doubt an "abomination." The Torah obligates the death penalty for the act. It is among the most severe of transgressions. You need to know the truth. They say ‘inclination,’ ‘deviation’ - nonsense. There are desires [of many kinds], and one can control them if he wishes, just one can control other urges. This is one of the severest prohibitions.”

Rabbi Amar also related that he had refused to attend the ceremony marking thirty days since the passing of Shira Banki, who was murdered at the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. “They asked me to come, and I did not agree to it. I wrote them, expressing great sorrow and opposition in the strongest terms to the act of [the murderer]. On the other hand, I told them, if you want to memorialize, take upon yourselves to change your sinful ways. This is something forbidden by the Torah. I made a condition that [if they read the letter aloud], they should read the whole thing. They wanted to read half of it. I wouldn’t agree.”

“[This is out of the question] - to show understanding or tolerance for this act. You must say the simple truth - it is completely forbidden, and there is no [way to permit it]. You must say things clearly. In the past, when I spoke about this, many secular people called and thanked me. People don’t want this. They want their kids to get married, to have kids of their own,” he said.

The rabbi was careful to condemn the homosexual act, expressly forbidden in the Torah, but not the people who have same gender inclinations. Rabbi Yaakov Meidan, one of the heads of the religious Zionist Har Etzion yeshiva, has said that he knows several men with homosexual tendencies whom he respects highly because despite the difficulty, they abstain from same sex relations because of the Torah prohibition and also refrain from heterosexual marriage which would be unfair to their mate.

The Rabbi also rejected the notion of civil marriages - marriages not carried out according to Jewish law - between Jewish partners.

Regarding public transportation on Shabbat, the Rabbi said, “It is impossible to permit public transportation on Shabbat. We are not allowed to do so.”