An investigative report by Israel’s N12 news portal found that landlords in various parts of central Israel were refusing to rent apartments to homosexual tenants, and in some cases appealed to the Bible to justify their position.
In one telling exchange, the journalist called the number for an available apartment in the town of Petah Tikva. The conversation went like this:
Journalist (pretending to be a potential renter): “Is the apartment suitable for a couple?”
Landlord: “Sure, even with five kids.”
Journalist: “I’d love to see it. I need to first speak with my partner, but I want to see the apartment.”
Landlord: “With your partner?!”
In Hebrew, because of the use of masculine and feminine forms of words and phrases like “partner” it is already clear if you are speaking of a man or woman. So when the male voice on the phone said he would speak to his “partner” (in the masculine form), the landlord immediately understood it was a homosexual couple.
The conversation continued…
Landlord: (Laughing) That is against the Torah. My brother won’t agree to this. It’s against the Torah.”
Journalist: “Against the Torah? Did I do something wrong?”
Landlord: “These are pointless questions. The apartment is not suitable.” (hangs up)
Several other calls to available apartments in Tel Aviv, Rosh Ha’ayin and elsewhere ended similarly, with the landlord suddenly rejecting the potential tenants after discovering they were homosexual. “I’m looking for religious people,” said one. “It’s no good with a male partner. If you had a girlfriend (I’d rent to you).”
A number of homosexual couples quoted in the article said the journalist’s experience matched their own. Often they would get to the point of coming to see the apartment only to have the landlord then suddenly realize they were gay and make the property unavailable. “I’d prefer to rent to a man and a woman,” one landlord reportedly said.
The case of Yad Hashmona
Several years ago, the Messianic Jewish village of Yad Hashmona just outside Jerusalem was sued by a lesbian couple after it refused to host their wedding at its guest house facilities.
The case shown a spotlight on the Messianic Jewish community, with representatives of Yad Hashmona being invited to mainstream media morning talk shows to give their position.
Naturally, the media was appalled by the Messianics’ refusal to host a gay wedding. But online reactions and surveys at the time revealed that many, if not most Israelis sided with the believers in Jesus and said it was their right to conduct business according to their faith.
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