Israel, or at least the Greater Tel Aviv area, has made a name for itself of late as a place of great tolerance for homosexuality, and even a top travel destination for the LGBT crowd.
So, when a high school teacher from the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Gan cited the Bible in requesting that his students pray against the upcoming "Gay Pride" parade, outrage ensued.
In reporting on the incident, Israel's Ynet news portal (Hebrew) referred to the teacher's remarks as a scandalous example of "homophobia" in the public education system.
The teacher sent a Whatsapp message to his students stating that "on Friday there will unfortunately be a great desecration of God's name in the heart of Israel, in Tel Aviv. We are short on salvation, but the salvation of God can come in the blink of an eye. Read this chapter of Psalms that saves us from shame and disgrace."
The teacher then cited Psalm 15:
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
The local Ramat Gan municipality condemned the teacher's remarks, inexplicably calling them "racist" in nature, while the Ministry of Education released a statement censuring the educator for intolerance.
"The teacher's words...are not in keeping with the spirit of the Ministry of Education, which educates to increase tolerance and acceptance of the other," read the statement.
The teacher is expected to face disciplinary action, and the students were all called in for a "sensitivity session" to undo any influence the teacher in question might have had on their views regarding homosexuality.
PHOTO: Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai speaks at a cocktail reception introducing the upcoming Tel Aviv "pride week." (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)