Amid debate over same-sex unions in Israel, one mayor made his stance on gay marriage perfectly clear: gays don’t live in his town and they should be dealt with by the police.
Moshe Abutbul, mayor of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, made the remarks Friday during an interview on national television. Gay activists have now filed a criminal complaint against the Orthodox mayor.
“We have none of those things [gays] here. Thank God, this city is holy and pure,” Abutbul told Channel 10. That same news segment also featured a resident of Beit Shemesh who said there are “a lot” of gay people in the city.
As far as how the city handles the gay community, he said it was a matter for law enforcement.
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“There’s the Health Ministry, let them handle it. The Health Ministry, the police,” Abutbul said.
Abutbul, of the Shas party, won reelection by a narrow margin in October and in a controversial manner. Voting irregularities sparked protests and a police investigation for voter fraud.
The remarks made by the mayor angered the Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered in Israel, leading them to file the complaint and write a letter to Gideon Saar, the country’s interior minister, according to the Telegraph.
“These statements by an incumbent mayor in the State of Israel comparing the LGBT community to lawbreakers who must be dealt with by police or dangers to public health constitute incitement,” wrote Ben Ilian, the association’s lawyer.
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Currently, Israel is questioning whether or not it should allow civil unions. Justice minister Tzipi Livni recently proposed a law that would give “official status for the union of couples for joint life” without marriage.
One Beit Shemesh native Elinor Sidi, head of the Jerusalem Open House told Ynet News that Abutbul’s comments were “hatred, ignorance, homophobia and racism,” and that his “Judaism is not the Judaism I was raised on.”
Currently, Jews wishing to wed in a civil union have to do so outside of Israel and have it recognized by the interior ministry.
Source: The Telegraph, Times of Israel