Female MKs from across the political spectrum criticized the appointment of a new chief rabbi for the Israel Police because of his views on women and men serving in the force together and his opinion of gays.
MKs Sharren Haskel (Likud), Meirav Ben-Ari (Kulanu), Yael German (Yesh Atid), Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union) and Michal Rozin (Meretz) wrote a letter to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan objecting to the appointment of Rabbi Rahamim Berachyahu on Monday.
Berachyahu is the chief rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Talmon and heads religious programming at a Jerusalem study center called “Believing in the Police.” The center encourages men from the national religious community to join the police force and runs a special cadet program that combines police training with Torah studies.
Two years ago Berachyahu ruled that gay couples were not permitted to live in Talmon. He was also one of 300 religious Zionist rabbis who signed a letter of support for Rabbi Yigal Levinstein after he called LGBT people “deviants” devoid of “the normalcy of life.”
However, Berachyahu said in his Talmon ruling that he is proud of the fact that he has warm personal connections with LGBT people as individuals, according to Israel Radio.
He also said that his ruling does not “remove our obligation, as individuals and as a community,” to treat members of the LGBT community “with sensitivity and humanity. A humane relationship between the Torah community and these people is in my eyes an ethical obligation,” according to the Kipa website.
In an interview two years ago Berachyahu also ruled that a man and woman should not serve alone in a police car at night and that there are ways to avoid such situations. He has also said that religious women should not serve in the police.