Rosh Ha'ayin Deputy Mayor Michoel Melamed faced a storm of criticism after publishing a post on his Facebook page on Thursday evening warning parents about an event taking place next week under the auspices of the municipality, according to a Ynet report on Friday. The advertisements for the event, titled "A Colorful Summer in Rosh Ha'ayin" don't mention that it is an LGBTQ event.
Melamed wrote, "Dear residents: Omer Shecter and Michal Sofrin are holding an event with activities for children. Guard your children. This is an event of the LGBTQ community."
The parade was initiated by fellow Deputy Mayor Omer Shecter who also heads the city's educational portfolio as well as city council member Michal Sofrin, who is responsible for the city's women and gender portfolio. The advertisements mention "information booths" but do not explain what "information" will be disseminated.
Melamed responded to the outburst of criticism by saying, "There is a community of millions of people in Israel and the world that do not want their children to be exposed to the [LGBTQ] community. It's my obligation as an elected public official to warn my voters and the residents that think like me about an event like this."
"I don't understand what the problem is," Melamed added. "Each person should live his or her life freely - but to hold a city event that is so-called innocent, with activities for children, can mislead an entire community which will find itself greatly distressed to have brought their children to an event together with the aforementioned community."
Shechter responded by saying that "the homophobic Melamed from UTJ receives a salary from the public and with this money he wants to impose his dark worldview on the residents of Rosh Ha'ayin. We will fight for equality and freedom in order to ensure that Rosh Ha'ayin will be an open and tolerant city where every resident can live and love without fear, against the anger and wrath of the dark ones."
"This is an unnecessary statement and I am opposed to it," Rosh Ha'ayin Mayor Shalom Ben Moshe responded. "Rosh HaAyin is a value-based community and it will remain so."
As of Friday morning, Melamed's posts about the event have been removed from his Facebook page.