French Jews protest against visit by ‘divisive’ Israeli rabbi
Approximately 40 Jewish protesters, some of them affiliated with liberal congregations, showed up at a rally last week outside the Buffault synagogue in Paris ahead of the arrival there of Shlomo Amar, above, an Orthodox chief rabbi from Jerusalem.
The protesters, according to this report, displayed signs accusing Amar of being mysogynistic and homophobic.
Amar visited France as a guest of the Consistoire organisation, a state-recognized framework that provides Orthodox Jewish communities with religious services in France.
Earlier this month, Amar said that Reform Jews were worse than Holocaust deniers in an address concerning demands by followers of Liberal Judaism for changes in the rules of worship at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Amar has also called homosexuals “crazies” and “obscene people,” and has said that women are made to care for children and provide for their families so that men may become “great sages” in studying the Torah.
Michael Amsellem, one of the protest’s organisers, wrote in a statement:
These words ostracise a significant part of the Jewish people.
He noted that Amar was, ironically. invited for a lecture titled “Unity and the Month of Elul”.
The protest rally also was promoted by Delphine Horvilleur, a female rabbi and editor of the Tenoua Jewish magazine. Tenoua released a banner reading:
Misogyny, homophobia, hate and contempt: not in my synagogue.
This was to show the “rejection” by some members of French Jewry, the world’s third largest with 500,000 members, with:
The honour shown by communal representatives to a man that propagates scandalous statements, rife with homophobia and openly promotes hatred for whole sections of World Jewry.
Amar has visited the French capital many times before. His visit last Tuesday was the first time that he was met by Jewish protesters.
Meanwhile, it was reported at the weekend that the Israeli government said it would amend adoption law in the country to give same-sex couples equal rights.
The state on Sunday made the announcement during a hearing at the Supreme Court in response to a petition regarding adoption by same-sex and common-law couples filed by the Association of Israeli Gay Fathers, with the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform movement, against the Social Affairs Ministry and the attorney general.
The state said it would introduce the new legislation by June 2018. The agreement comes less than a month after the Ministry of Welfare and Social Affairs reversed its opposition to allowing same-sex couples to adopt in the country. The government had initially told the court that given the “reality of Israeli society”, same-sex parents put an “additional burden” on their adopted children.
The agreement to introduce the new legislation led to the court dismissing the lawsuit, though the court reminded the two sides that if the legislation is not forthcoming, the petitioners could return to court.
Riki Shapira Rosenberg, lead attorney for the Israel Religious Action Center, said in a statement:
The court recognised the merits of the petition presented to them and decided to encourage a fundamental change in Israel’s adoption policy. From now on same-sex families, who deserve the right to adopt like any other family, will have that right.
We will continue to closely monitor the legislative processes following the petition to ensure that the Government follows through on its commitment and soon.