The international gay pride parade is set to take place in Jerusalem next month, much to the ire of groups that had, up until now, little to unite them.
Orthodox Jews, Moslems and Christians have banded together to try to prevent this convergence of gays and lesbians from all over the world for a week of activities in Israel’s capital.
Believers in Jerusalem have held several citywide prayer meetings regarding the parade, while rabbis and Moslem sheikhs held a mutual news conference decrying the event, including Levin and Arab party Knesset Member Ibrahim Sarsur. At least 45 parliament members signed a petition against the parade.
“This is the holy land, not the homo land,” Rabbi Yehuda Levin, a moral activist from America, who came to Israel to stir a charge against the parade, told Israel Today. “The militants are as dangerous as Hamas. And they’re every bit as dangerous as Nazis to religious people.”
But the city is bound by a Supreme Court ruling and has no apparent out. Levin blames liberal politicians and secular Jews, such as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert whose daughter is a professed lesbian, for allowing the parade to go forward.
The sin of homosexuality could cost Israel its land, Levin said. The Bible instructs the Israelites to not emulate the acts of the Canaanites and the Egyptians, which includes homosexuality according to the rabbis, lest they lose the land.
Noa Sattath, chairperson of Jerusalem Open House, the organizers of the event, countered Levin’s argument.
“The sin that caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was that the stranger was rejected,” she said. “I would hope that Israel doesn’t make that same mistake again.”
Sattath insisted that the parade and the week of activities was not designed to be provocative and will also be mindful of the religious sensitivities of the city, toning down its sexuality and planning nothing in or near religious neighborhoods.
Jerusalem has already hosted local gay parades for the last three years with about 10,000 attendees each time. This event is international, however, and the numbers could be significantly higher.