A popular rabbi at the head of Tunisian Jewry in Israel suggested to a memorial gathering Sunday that the murders of Eitam and Naama Henkin and other recent violence were a direct result of “sinful behavior,” including gay pride events.
Rabbi Meir Mazuz, who is also spiritual leader of nascent political party Yachad and heads a yeshiva in Tel Aviv suburb B’nei Brak, told a memorial event for the Henkins that their shooting death 30 days previously at the hands of Palestinian terrorists had been a form of divine retribution.
Two of the Henkins’ children who were in the car when their parents were killed on October 1 were at the event, at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem.
Mazuz suggested the way to end the recent wave of terror attacks was not just through government policy and increased security measures but by avoiding what he described as “immoral acts.”
“We must avoid acts of Sodom and Gomorrah that have multiplied over the past year,” he said, referring to the biblical cities destroyed by God for impenitent sin.
“Gay pride parade? Pride in what?” he asked. “What this pride is there in opposing nature? What pride is there is opposing God? For this comes punishment.”
The Henkin couple were shot to death as they were traveling in their car near the West Bank settlement of Itamar on October 1. Their four small children – the oldest is 9 years old – were in the backseat and witnessed their murder but were uninjured.
Eitam Henkin was a rabbi, noted Torah scholar and author of several treatises on Jewish law, and his wife Na’ama was a graphic designer.
Mazuz’s comments come three months after a deadly attack at the annual Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade in which ultra-orthodox Yishai Schlissel stabbed six participants on the streets of the capital. Fifteen-year-old Shira Banki died from her wounds a week after the attack. She would have celebrated her 16th birthday on Sunday.
Mazuz is known as the spiritual mentor of the Yachad political party which unsuccessfully ran in the March elections. Mazuz backed party leader Eli Yishai when he left the hegemonic Sephardi religious party Shas following a vicious leadership battle Aryeh Deri.
Despite strong polling throughout the election campaign, Yachad failed to receive the necessary votes to pass the electoral threshold and receive seats in the Knesset.