MK Bennet Defends Jewish Home Party’s Lesbian Spokeswoman

Education Minister Naftali Bennett defended his religious party’s lesbian spokesperson following a resignation of a board member who called not to hire LGBT people.

About a month ago, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Brit Gelor Peretz, the media advisor to Minister Naftali Bennett, was raising her two children together with her female partner Adi. It turns out that a member of the presidency board of the Jewish Home Party, Rabbi Israel Rosen, didn’t like the news and announced that he was resigning from the party because of the employment of the lesbian spokesperson.

In a letter to senior members of the Jewish Home Party, Rabbi Rosen wrote: “I expressed a critical position on turning the back of the Jewish Home to issues of religion and state, leaving the arena to the ultra-Orthodox only. It is no wonder that an LGBT person keeps her job as the ‘Home’ spokesperson. I have nothing against her or against them, but I believe that this community is wrong, and defiant and demonstrative pride cannot be allowed in a party that pretends to represent religious Zionism.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted Thursday supporting his media adviser and against Rabbi Yisrael Rosen. Bennett wrote: “Anyone who thinks that I should discriminate against a person because of his orientation, gender or skin color will come across me with total refusal. Beloved is the human, every human, created in the image.”

Israel Hofsheet movement have published a statement to the rabbi’s resignation: “Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked are perhaps trying to create a relatively moderate false representation of religious Zionism, but this is revealed time and time again in all its ugliness: Rabbi Yisrael Rosen aligns with Rabbi Ariel who called for not renting out apartments to gays and lesbians, and with other rabbis who are not only opposed to the rights of parenthood and marriage of LGBT people, but are also now thinking that they should not be employed. The exclusion of entire sectors, and now also a call to harm their income, is accepted here as a legitimate political position by Rabbi Rosen, exposing the boundaries of the state of Halakha to which he aspires. This is the real face of the party that could have been the liberal face of religious Zionism, but is not capable of that. You can’t go over it in silence.”