Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Israeli Shas MP Blames Earthquake on Gays; MP Says Gays Destroying Israeli Society

Israeli MP blames quakes on gays
BBC News

An Israeli MP has blamed parliament's tolerance of gays for earthquakes that have rocked the Holy Land recently. Shlomo Benizri, of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas Party, said the tremors had been caused by lawmaking that gave "legitimacy to sodomy". Israel decriminalised homosexuality in 1988 and has since passed several laws recognising gay rights.

Two earthquakes shook the region last week and a further four struck in November and December. Mr Benizri made his comments while addressing a committee of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, about the country's readiness for earthquakes. He called on lawmakers to stop "passing legislation on how to encourage homosexual activity in the state of Israel, which anyway brings about earthquakes".

Israeli court rulings in recent years have granted inheritance rights to gay couples and recognised same-sex marriages performed abroad. Last week, Israel's attorney general ruled same-sex couples could adopt.

Shas MK: Gays are causing Israeli society to self-destruct
By Shahar Ilan, Haaretz Correspondent
As a Knesset panel deliberated Tuesday on proposals to ban all gay pride parades in Jerusalem, MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) accused the homosexual community of "carrying out the self-destruction of Israeli society and the Jewish people." Ze'ev also said homosexuals were a plague as "toxic as bird flu."
The Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee met to debate two bills presented by religious party members which would amend the Jerusalem municipality's Basic Law to prevent gay pride parades from being held within the city limits. The bills were presented by MK Eli Gabai (National Union - National Religious Party) and MK Yitzhak Vakhnin (Shas). Both bulls were passed in a preliminary reading in the Knesset plenum and have have now been brought for committee deliberations ahead of a first reading.
MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) said in response to Ze'ev's comments that "when I hear concepts like plague and self-destruction, I don't believe they are in the lexicon of expressions. The capital city does not belong only to the ultra-Orthodox." The chairman of Israel's LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) organization, Michael Hammel, called Ze'ev's words embarrassing and frightening. "The right to march in the capital city is not a local 'Jerusalemite' matter," he said. "This is a culture war, where politicians are trying to turn Jerusalem into their private property." Committee members decided that public figures from the religious and homosexual communities in Jerusalem would meet to discuss the gay pride parade on a separate occasion.
MK Yitzhak Levy (NU - NRP) said, "the current situation is that this is a crippled and small protest: once you close a stadium, once you give 100 meters. There should have been a discussion to find new ideas, thus I am calling for a discussion." Noa Setet, who runs Jerusalem's Open House - the organization which has initiated the parade - seconded Levy's suggestion, but added that the group had scheduled two meetings in the past and Levy's aides had canceled both of them. Levy denied having canceled the meeting and said he intended two recruit other public figures from the religious community for the future discussion.

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