Jerusalem’s chief rabbi lashed out at Israel’s gay community in an interview released Friday, calling homosexuality an “abomination” and earning himself a police complaint for incitement.
Shlomo Amar, who previously served as the country’s Sephardi chief rabbi, told Israel Hayom newspaper that homosexuality is an “abomination,” and that Jewish law advocates the death penalty for those who choose to engage in same sex relationships.
“I call it a cult. It’s a cult of abominations, it is obvious. It’s an abomination,” he said. “The Torah says it is punishable by death. It is in the first rank of severe offenses They say leaning,’ perversion’ this is nonsense. There is lust, and a person can overcome it if they want to, like all lusts. This is among the most forbidden lusts, the most severe. ”
Amar said he declined to attend a memorial service for a teenage girl stabbed to death by an ultra-Orthodox zealot during last year’s Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, after her family declined to read aloud his condemnation of homosexuality.
“When Shira Banki was killed, they commemorated the thirtieth day of her death. They asked me to attend, and I would not. I wrote to them a letter expressing great sadness and opposition in the strongest terms to the deeds” of her killer, Yishai Schlissel,” he said.
“On the other hand,” he said he wrote to Banki’s family, “I call on you, if you want to elate her soul to the heavens, to repent from your evil ways. It is forbidden by the Torah.\ I gave them a condition that they read my letter in full [and then I would attend]. They wanted to read half. I did not agree [to attend].”
Amar said that his attendance would have “blasphemed the name of God.”
He also came out against rabbis trying to build bridges with the LGBTQ community: “There is no such thing, to show understanding or tolerance for this. A simple truth needs to be stated there is a severe prohibition, and there is no allowance for it.”
The rabbi emphasized he would not budge on his position, even at the price of estranging secular Jews from religious life.