Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Orthodox Mayor Proclaims No Gays in Israeli Town of Beit Semesh

An LBGT group filed a complaint against the haredi Orthodox mayor of Beit Shemesh after he said on television that his “holy and pure” city does not have homosexual residents.

Moshe Abutbul, who was re-elected three weeks ago after a contentious campaign that pitted secular and more Modern Orthodox residents against haredi Orthodox residents, also told Israel Channel 10 in an interview that aired Friday that the Health Ministry and the police are responsible for handling the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual) community.

Asked if the city has gay residents, Abutbul said, “We have no such thing. If you mean what I think you mean, then no. Thank God, this city is holy and pure.”

On Sunday, the Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered in Israel filed a complaint against the mayor. “This constitutes incitement, urging attacks on and a show of contempt for the LGBT community,” said Shai Doitsh, the association’s chairman.

Meanwhile, Abutbul’s mayoral challenger, Eli Cohen, will file a request Monday for new elections with the Jerusalem District Court claiming voting fraud. Complaints of forgery and other irregularities on Election Day have been leveled against Abutbul’s camp.

Beit Shemesh has gained notoriety in recent years for tension between haredi Orthodox and other residents, including harassment of girls on their way to a Modern Orthodox school and attacks on a public bus after a woman refused to move to the back to accommodate haredi Orthodox passengers.

Engage

  • Events

    Vegas, It Isn’t: How Israeli Elections Sent Shockwaves through the Israel-Diaspora Relationship

    OFJCC Campus in Palo Alto, CA

    Dec 11, 2022

    5 pm ET · 

    Do the recent Israeli elections have an impact on the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry? Bear witness as rock stars of Israeli policy come together for a frank conversation about the Israeli elections as seen from the vantage points of statecraft, diplomacy, academia and politics.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.