Following in the footsteps of MKs Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beytenu) and Uri Ariel (National Union), another prominent Israeli has ignited controversy with his anti-gay remarks.
Former Shas party leader and current Chief Rabbi of Raanana Yitzhak Peretz refused to join his city’s first Gay Pride festival on Sunday. "As if it weren't enough that they are not ashamed of their actions, which harm the foundations of human morality, they are even proud of themselves. By doing this they poison the public atmosphere and act as a bad influence on our youth," he wrote in an open letter.
Peretz's words were not the only form of resistance the gay community faced in setting up the festival, as Raanana's city council did not let the organizers know which area would be designated for the festival until a week before the event. However, Raanana Mayor Nahum Hofree expressed his support, saying the city of Raanana supported all forms of coexistence and "objects to any statement that might offend others."
Despite the hackles it raised, the Raanana Pride festival was held on Sunday. Several organizations from the gay community participated in the event, including the Israel Gay Youth organization and Hoshen, which acts as an education and information center for the gay community by providing lectures in schools and to professional groups. Hofree gave the opening speech, followed by MKs Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and Eitan Cabel (Labor). An estimated 200 people took part in the event.