One day after calling the Jerusalem gay pride parade, in which six people were stabbed, an “abomination march,” an Israeli lawmaker from the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party was standing by his remarks.
“So here I say it again fearlessly: I object vehemently to violence, and promise to object no less vehemently to the recognition of same-sex couples in the Jewish State,” Betzalel Smotrich wrote Sunday in a Facebook post. “I promise to fight violence, and no less than that, I will fight any attempt to besmirch traditional Jewish family values.”
Smotrich had made the remarks about the “abomination march” on Twitter the previous evening.
On Facebook, he called the Saturday night anti-violence protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, following the stabbing of six at the gay pride march in Jerusalem on Thursday and an arson attack on a Palestinian West Bank village the next day that killed an 18-month-old boy, “a left-wing witch hunt” and said they were “all incitement and silencing” against anyone who opposes the organizers’ views.
Smotrich said that demonstration organizers “saved [Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali] Bennett from himself,” by withdrawing an invitation for him to speak at the Tel Aviv rally. Bennett’s invitation was rescinded after a hostile reaction from participants to his participation and after he refused to sign a pledge committing to advancing homosexual-themed legislation.
Bennett, who said he was on his way to the rally when organizers called and told not to show up, tried to repair the damage done by Smotrich, but said he would not support recognition of same-sex marriage.
“I am in favor of full rights for the gay community,” Bennett told Army Radio on Sunday. “In terms of formal recognition by the State of Israel for marriage, I am not.”
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Bennett said: “Whoever wants to find me fighting against violence, I am next to him with all my strength. Whoever wants me to remain silent, I will stand up to him with all my heart.”
Meanwhile, three days after being critically wounded by an ultra-Orthodox man that went the stabbing rampage at Jerusalem’s gay pride parade, Shira Banki, a 16-year-old Israeli teen, succumbed to her wounds Sunday afternoon. Five other people were wounded in the attack which was perpetrated by Yishai Schlissel, a Haredi man from Modiin Ilit who committed an identical attack at the 2005 gay pride march and was recently released from prison after serving a 10-year sentence.