JERUSALEM (JTA) – A rabbi who is a leader of Israel’s Jewish Home party has threatened to leave the party because a spokesperson for its leader, Naftali Bennett, is a lesbian.
Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, the head of the Zomet Institute, which researches how technology can be used under Jewish law, resigned Wednesday from the party’s presidium, and on Thursday threatened to leave the party altogether.
“I have nothing against her or against them (homosexuals), but I think that this community is wrong and defiant and that outwardly expressed homosexuality is an impossibility in a party that purports to represent religious Zionism,” Rozen reportedly wrote to party leaders.
After Rozen’s objections became public, Bennett responded in a tweet that included a quote from the Jewish text Ethics of the Fathers.
“Anyone who thinks I need to discriminate against a person because of his sexual orientation, gender or skin color will encounter a total refusal from me,” he said. “Beloved is man – every man – who was created in God’s image.”
Bennett also serves as Israel’s education minister.
The Israeli Hebrew-language daily Yediot Acharonot reported last month that Bennett’s media adviser Brit Galor Peretz is married to Adi Galor, and they are raising two children.
Galor outed Peretz in a post on Facebook after the state told the country’s Supreme Court in response to a petition that the government remains opposed to allowing same-sex couples to adopt, though it currently is legal for such couples to adopt if a heterosexual couple cannot be found for a child.
The Jerusalem Post reported that Rozen has threatened to quit the party three times in recent months, including after Bennett recruited a secular soccer star to run on the party’s Knesset candidate list and after the party adopted a hard line on conversions.