Israel shames the Australian Jewish community by speaking out against homophobia

On the International Day Against Homophobia, May 17 2010, Israel’s Minister of Education, Gideon Sa’ar, said there is no room for homophobia, according to the Really Israel blog.

”There is no place for homophobia. Differences are not a cause for concern. Differences are part of the fabric of our society”

The Australian Jewish community has remained silent for too long on homophobia.  Whilst there are increasing numbers of young people in the community who are living openly as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, there is no mainstream support for same-sex attracted people and still no statement that intolerance of homosexuality is unacceptable.

Orthodox Judaism and other fundamentalist or extreme Jewish sects consider homosexuality incompatible with religious lifestyle.  This intolerance has been proven to put same-sex attracted people, comprising about 10% of the population, at serious risk of suffering mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or self-harm, potentially leading to suicide.

What is needed are more leaders like Gideon Sa’ar, Tzipi Livni, Shimon Peres and Benjamin Netanyahu to declare that homophobia in the (Jewish) community is unacceptable and that our society must completely respect and accept people who are same-sex attracted, as they do anyone else.

The Australian Jewish community must take example from Israel on this important matter and speak out immediately against deeply rooted ignorance, hate and intolerance of homosexuality.  Education is the key to success, and ultimately we’ll all be better off for it.

One thought on “Israel shames the Australian Jewish community by speaking out against homophobia”

  1. The event was widely reported in the mainstream press. Here are parts of the Minister’s speech, as quoted in Haaretz newspaper (translated from the Hebrew courtesy Jonathan Danilowitz).
    “Homophobia is all around us, including in the education system. There are many young boys and girls who are suffering; who feel alone and lonely. Schools have an inportant part to play in identifying their misery and reaching out to help.
    “I came here today to express and radiate my commitment – both to the general public and to the education system. I call on public figures at all levels to come out loud and clear against homophobia.
    “The education system has made great strides, but we still have a long way to go.”

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