Left rips into Jewish Home candidate for coming out against single-sex unions

Left rips into Jewish Home candidate for coming out against single-sex unions

Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan says legal recognition of gay marriage would destroy the Jewish people

Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan in 2010 (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan in 2010 (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Eli Ben Dahan, number 4 on the Jewish Home party list, came under fire on Monday for speaking out against the institution of homosexual marriage and calling it a “recipe for the destruction of the Jewish people.”

Ben Dahan emphasized in an interview with Walla News that he was not talking about how members of the gay community should be treated, but was specifically referring to the legal recognition of gay marriage.

“Every sociology professor will tell you that the foundation of every nation is the family unit,” said Ben Dahan, a rabbi who holds degrees in business administration and public policy. He said that we cannot recognize a “reality in which we do not create a next generation.”

Orit Zuaretz (Hatnua) blasted both Ben Dahan and Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett, saying that “Bennett is trying to run an exercise in camouflage under which extremists enter the Knesset and cause the people to distance themselves from Judaism.”

Hatnua candidate Yoel Hasson added that “Ben Dahan’s harsh words are just the tip of the iceberg of the views of the candidates on the Jewish Home list.”

Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said that Ben Dahan is displaying “ignorance and detachment from a reality in which thousands of same-sex families have established warm and loving homes.”

The Orthodox gay group HOD also reacted to Ben Dahan’s remarks. HOD chairman Yaron Yosef said that his organization accepts the position of Jewish law against same-sex marriage. However, Yosef added, considering the current reality in Israel, which for example grants legal recognition of marriages performed in Cyprus (in order to bypass the Israeli rabbinate), “we should examine civil legislation that will not upset the religious status quo, but that will enable… civil unions” in order to provide gay couples with the same social and economic benefits enjoyed by married couples.

Yosef further called on Ben Dahan to devote his time and energy to promoting social justice, protecting the weak, and enhancing the general welfare of Jews in Israel and around the world. “Jewish leaders for generations placed as their top priority the unity and the well-being of the nation,” Yosef said. “We call on Rabbi Ben Dahan, on Naftali Bennett and on all other religious MKs from all of the parties to stop using religious homosexuals as a punching bag and to establish a serious, in-depth discussion with us.”

On many religious issues, Ban Dahan is considered to be fairly liberal by many, particularly in the ultra-Orthodox camp. While serving as a rabbinical court judge, Ben Dahan worked to help women whose husbands refused to grant them a writ of divorce (get). According to Jewish law, such a woman is considered an aguna — a chained woman, and is forbidden to re-marry. Ben Dahan was also one of the initiators of the 1994 Law of Sanctions, which stipulated that a rabbinic court had the authority to enforce sanctions against recalcitrant husbands, including revoking driver’s licenses and passports and even imprisonment.

Ben Dahan has also gone against the traditional religious stream by supporting, under certain conditions, the granting of kashrut certificates to restaurants that are open on Shabbat.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Join our community
read more: