While the lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is still coming to terms with recent developments in the Tel Aviv gay center shooting investigation, some are already calling on its members to engage in self-examination.
Rabbi Dr. Ratzon Arusi, rabbi of the central city of Kiryat Ono and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, said last week that legitimizing "abnormal" sexual inclinations leads to violence in society. He expressed his hope that the bloodshed at the youth club would lead to what he referred to as "disillusionment" in the community.
In a Torah lesson he gave following the breakthrough in the murder investigation, Rabbi Arusi argued that human and biblical history proved that accepting and containing the phenomenon of "he and he, she and she," as he put it, "breaches all other borders, which opens the door to violence."
He said he learned that from the "generation of the flood," which was the first to recognize same-sex marriages, and as a result "the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence." He added that both King Solomon and Maimonides had pointed to a connection between the two.
"Our non-religious brothers say that Maimonides was a rationalist, a philosopher and a scientist, and not just a man of Torah," said Arusi, calling on the LGBT community to take his opinion seriously.
According to the rabbi, the community members must examine through experts whether in such a society "the level of violence does not exist at a much higher level and at a greater potential" before fighting for equal rights. "How is it that the entire society is being turned into a guinea pig?" he asked.
'Apologize to the religious public'
Rabbi Arusi went on to say that immediately after the gay center shooting, four years ago, "irresponsible people" automatically accused the religious and ultra-Orthodox public of committing a hate crime, assuming that the culprit came from that public and had ideological motives.
Now, he said, they must apologize and offer reconciliation, as "the entire affair has been found to be internal."
According to the rabbi, the offense is particularly serious as an entire public was blamed rather than just an individual. "We must be very careful with such things in the public discourse, not to inflame the situation and not to take stands hastily."
This isn't the first time that Kiryat Ono's rabbi is caught in homophobic remarks. In the past he had said that "the phenomenon of demonstrative and communicative homosexuality is wrong, and does a disservice to gays, certainly to the religious ones among them."
In a letter he wrote following a letter by religious homosexuals seeking acceptance, Arusi said that "we must know how to deal with the phenomenon of demonstrative and communicative homosexuality which is the mother of all sins in our time, and it's a shame that we have come to this.
"We must know how to deal with dear God-fearing Jews who were born as homosexuals in order to relieve their pain, and in order to show them ways to find true happiness."