JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli lawmaker said the Israel Defense Forces should stop enlisting homosexuals.
Knesset member Uri Ariel of the National Union Party said in an interview with the Knesset Channel that homosexuals "interfere in the military’s ability to fight."
He also said that homosexuals should not be enlisted because "We must conduct ourselves in accordance with Jewish law. The Torah forbids homosexuality and demands that those who behave in such a manner be punished."
Ariel’s comments come a week after Anastassia Michaeli of the Yisrael Beiteinu party made anti-gay statements during a Knesset discussion on sexual harassment.
Opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich responded to Ariel by saying that “The latest assault on the gay community is a primitive and dangerous attack that comes in at a time when the Israeli public is finding enlightenment and tolerance, and is accepting the community as equals.”
“[Lawmakers] attacking the community may earn them political points," she added, "but their incitement endangers the gay community and damages the State of Israel.”
Michaeli had said that "Most homosexuals are people who experienced sexual abuse at a very young age." She also accused Israel’s Channel 10 of broadcasting programming that encourages children to be homosexuals.