Israel’s national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) association, the Agudah, has received an award for volunteerism by the President of Israel Shimon Peres. That’s quite an achievement. Read the story in Hebrew here or a translated version here.
”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.