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Israel Prize presenter won’t speak to winning rabbi to protest homophobic comments

Television presenter Sharon Kidon, who is set to award the Israel Prize to Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, says she will not speak to him to protest disparaging comments he has made about LGBT people.

Ariel is set to receive the prize for Torah scholarship on Wednesday. On Sunday, the High Court rejected a petition by The Aguda — Israel’s LGBT Task Force to have the prize revoked over Ariel’s past comments.

In 2014, Ariel, then the chief rabbi of Ramat Gan, wrote a ruling forbidding the renting of apartments to lesbian tenants. He also referred to homosexuals as “disabled” and said they needed treatment, according to the Jerusalem Open House, which also protesting him winning the prize.

Saying she finds Ariel’s comments “hurtful to a wide swath of our nation,” Kidon tweets that after discussions with organizers “we decided to respect the festive atmosphere and so I will not personally speak to Rabbi Ariel.”

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