(JTA) – Several French Jewish organizations condemned a former chief rabbi of France, who called Tel Aviv’s gay pride parade an “abomination” and “attempt at moral extermination of the People of Israel.”
Rabbi Joseph Sitruk, who had served as France’s chief rabbi from 1987 until 2008, made the statements last week, during a talk broadcast on Radio J, the Actualite Juive weekly reported.
“The Torah determines that homosexuality is an abomination and considers it a human failure. The danger seems to me grave enough for everyone to shout their opposition in the face of such an offense,” said Sitruk on June 3, as tens of thousands marched through Tel Aviv in its 23rd annual gay pride event. “I hope the listeners will react in a radical manner to this abomination,” Sitruk said.
Alain Beit, the president of the gay Jewish Beit Haverim group, condemned Sitruk’s remarks in a statement on June 5, demanding whether the radical reaction he sought extends to “stabbing an adolescent like what happened last year in Jerusalem” or “throwing gays off a cliff.”
In 2015, a religious zealot killed Shira Banki, 16, during the Jerusalem gay pride parade.
Radio J president Serge Hajdenberg and Guy Rozanowicz, the station’s secretary general, published statement saying they were not responsible for Sitruk’s remarks on gays and distancing the station from them.
French Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia defended Sitruk to Actualite Juive, saying he would never call for violence. But Korsia added that he can “understand how Sitruk’s remarks may be shocking,” particularly in light of the stabbing last year.