JERUSALEM (JTA) — One day after calling the Jerusalem gay pride parade an “abomination march,” an Israeli Knesset member 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 of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party 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.
In response, LGBT activists flooded the lawmaker’s Facebook page over the weekend with photos of gay couples and memes mocking Smotrich, the Times of Israel reported.
On Facebook, Smotrich said the organizers of Saturday night anti-violence protests in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, following the stabbing of six at the gay pride march in Jerusalem on Thursday, were about incitement and silencing anyone who opposes their views. The protests were also in response to an arson attack on a Palestinian West Bank village early Friday that killed an 18-month-old boy.
Smotrich said that the demonstrations’ organizers “saved [Jewish Home 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 Bennett’s invitation was rescinded after a hostile reaction from participants to his participation and after he refused to sign a pledge committing to advancing homosexual-themed legislation.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.”