Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

Israel, play fair with LGBT families!

The latest move by the Israeli government really surprised me.

I am referring to the recent decision that continues and underscores the Israeli government’s opposition to adoption by same-sex couples.

The state’s decision not to change its stance on same-sex couples “takes into account the reality of Israeli society and the difficulty it may entail with regard to the child being adopted,” the government said in a response to the court, citing Child Welfare Services.

Now, why did this decision surprise me?

After all, as we have seen lately, and repeatedly, right-wing religious and political forces control much of Israeli society.

But, wait.

Judaism is pro-family — about as pro-family as it gets.

The state of Israel — even more so.

I’ve been in Israel for three weeks, and I’m constantly tripping over kids. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You would think that a pro-family culture would want to expand opportunities for adoption.

Yes, even and especially for LGBT people. (Has anyone ever speculated over the sexuality of Pharaoh’s unmarried daughter —Moses’ adopted mother? This was the first single parent adoption in history.)

But, there’s another issue — and, frankly, it’s deeper and darker.

It comes in the form of the horrendous anti-Israelism — no, scratch that — anti-semitism — that emanated from the Chicago Dyke march. Several Jews were expelled from the march for hoisting Jewish pride flags featuring the Star of David.

Some of the organizers actually used the David Duke-inspired term “Zio” to signify Zionism.

And then, the LGBT-focused newspaper, the Windy City Times, removed Gretchen Hammond, an award-winning transgender reporter, from her reporting duty because she reported the story.

This is ugly stuff. And it comes with a long history of hard leftist causes ultimately betraying their Jewish allies.

That is what has made this latest move from Israel that much more perplexing.

At a time when we need to bolster the relationship between Israel, the Jews, and the LGBT world — a complex and fascinating historical relationship— the Israeli government has made it much more difficult.

This, at a time when leftist groups accuse Israel supporters of “pink washing,” of shifting into defensive mode regarding LGBT rights in Israel, as a way of deflecting attention away from the more problematic aspects of Israel’s politics.

As in: the huge LGBT marches in Tel Aviv, and (coming soon to a sacred city near you) in Jerusalem.

As in: there are no such parades in Tehran and Ramallah.

It is utterly beyond my understanding: how an ethnic group that actually invented the public relations industry could create a nation-state that has such a ham-fisted (sorry) way of doing what it calls hasbara — explanation of itself.

Moreover: someone needs to explain to me how a nation-state that is (correctly) concerned about anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism on college campuses — can hand an imagined moral victory to those on the cultural left who are perpetually searching for “gotcha” opportunities to lambast Israel.

As my grandmother would have said — had she not resolutely refused to speak Yiddish: “past nischt.”

Translation: this is not fitting behavior for Jews.

Perhaps someone can supply me with the accurate Hebrew equivalent of “to shoot oneself in the foot.”

Because that’s what Israel just did.

We can do better than this. We are better than this.

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.

5 Comments

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  • I am not sure that the anti-Zionism of the Left is entirely antisemitism, (what I define as religiously motivated) but rather political, based on the Left’s criticism of the occupation and their support of the Palestinian position. Granted Muslims like Linda Sarsour are true antisemites and are using the Left for their own purposes. I believe the far Right’s use of the term anti-Zionism is to distance themselves from the antisemitic label; they are religious bigots.

  • God taught that homosexuality is an immoral sin. Placing a child in an immoral environment is child abuse.

    Leviticus 18:22 – 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
    Leviticus 20:13 – If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.

  • The author’s kind of all over the place here. Sure, the Israeli government’s action was stupid, and so was that of the Chicago Dyke March people, but there’s little connection except in stupidity. The former is motivated by political courting of extremists in Israel. The latter is motivated by transformation of ideology into a cult.

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