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Your existence offends me July 4, 2011

Posted by Ezra Resnick in Equality, Religion.

The Israeli National-Civilian Service is planning a festive event to honor its volunteers. In order to decide which singers should perform at the event, the Service conducted a survey among its men and women, and the most popular artist was Harel Skaat — so he was invited. Skaat is male, which is a necessary qualification for the job — because some of the volunteers are haredi men whose religious beliefs forbid them from hearing a woman sing (lest they be tempted to sin). However, some religious folk are still extremely upset about Skaat’s selection:

Information obtained by Ynet reveals that a group of National Service girls complained to the National-Civilian Service Administration in recent days that “an artist who does not fit the event’s nature” has been invited to the ceremony. […]

Kiryat Shmona Rabbi Zephaniah Drori, chairman of the Agudah Lehitnadvut (“The Association for Volunteering” — one of the biggest National Service contracting organizations) told religious culture magazine “Motzash”: “It’s clear that this isn’t a pleasant thing, and it’s certainly disrespectful to the National Service girls.” […]

Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) sent a letter on the matter to Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, whose office is in charge of the National-Civilian Service Administration. He noted that he was amazed to hear that Skaat was selected to sing.

According to Ben-Ari, religious and haredi girls serving in the National Service told him that “Harel Skaat’s personal lifestyle, which is expressed on every stage, contradicts their world of values, and inviting him to an event in their honor offends them.”

What did Skaat do to earn all this hatred?

He’s gay.

And therefore, his very existence is disrespectful and offensive to religious people. Well, you know what? I think religious bigotry is offensive. I think the protesters’ so-called “world of values” is shameful, and deserves derision, not respect. How is their behavior different from an antisemite objecting to a performer for being Jewish?


(via Religion and State in Israel)


1. Ezra Resnick - July 4, 2011

Note to religious moderates: check your bible before arguing that the protesters mentioned above are not representative of the “true Judaism.”

2. jhm - July 5, 2011

On the other hand, they presumably won’t be tempted to sin.

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