Jul 26, 2021

On Sunday, a group of major rabbis led a prayer vigil at the Western Wall, petitioning God to thwart any ungodly plans the new government has, such as dividing the land of Israel or advocating for unholy sexual unions.

A closer look reveals that any attempt to promote LGBT agendas will inevitably lead to Bennett’s government crumbling.

Prayer vigil

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Tzfat, led a prayer vigil in response to the swearing-in of a controversial “unity government”. Rabbi Eliyahu, one of the leading spiritual leaders in Israel’s religious zionist movement, was joined by other leading rabbis from the Religious Zionist sector including Har HaMor Yeshiva dean Rabbi Zvi Tau; Rabbi Chaim Yeruchaim Smotrich, the dean of the Nir Yeshiva in Kiryat Arba and father of MK Bezalel Smotrich; and Rabbi David Hai HaCohen, dean of the Netivot Yeshiva in Bat Yam.

“The new government includes MKs of the Left and the radical-left,” organizers said, “MKs who have made the war against Judaism their life’s mission. Some of them have made the war against the settlement of the Land of Israel their mission.”

“We are praying to God not to give them the opportunity to carry out their plans to weaken the Jewishness of the country and the settlement enterprise across the country. And that He should not give them the strength to harm [state] kashrut certification and the conversion system, that He shouldn’t let them harm the sanctity of the traditional family. That He shouldn’t let them abandon the Land of Israel to Arab takeovers.”

The prayer included blasts from silver horns specially prepared for use in the Third Temple. 

Pro-homosexual legislation: a political stumbling block

While the rabbis prayed for the failure of any legislation that would promote unholy unions, political realities may also prevent the new coalition from doing so.

Naftali Bennett is religious, as his party. As such, he has expressly opposed the implementation of same-sex marriage in Israel, comparing it to the forbidden consumption of milk and meat. But he has expressed support for equivalent rights such as tax breaks for same-sex couples. He has also expressed support for the LGBT community, leading to accusations of hypocrisy. While expressing support for the community, he has also pledged not to advance legislation enshrining such rights.

Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party has been touted as the most outstanding advocate for LGBT agendas in the Knesset. These agendas include outlawing conversion therapy, mandatory school studies on LGBT issues, allowing gay couples to adopt children, and allowing transgenders to change their gender on their identity cards. 

It has yet to be revealed whether these agendas were included in the concessions Bennett made to garner Lapid’s support for his government but in the run-up to signing the coalition deal, the left-wing Meretz party announced that same-sex marriage was part of their agreement with Yesh Atid.  Walid Taha, an MK for the Ra’am party which is part of the Joint Arab List, rejected the possibility of his supporting any LGBT legislation. At the same time, Ra’am leader MK Mansour Abbas, who said he was not aware of any coalition commitment to advance LGBT rights. In past alliances with the left-wing, the Arab parties have split over LGBT issues. 

Bennett remains unforgiven

Rabbi Eliyahu was a strong supporter of Naftali Bennett while at the same time being critical of some of his political decisions, such as splitting from the Bayit Yehudi party just prior to elections, a move the head of the New Right has carried out four times. 

“Remember that when this government fails, you will have nowhere to go back to. We promise. Whoever fooled us and betrayed us has lost our trust forever, ” he wrote at the time.

Bennett became the prime minister after forming a coalition government with the left-wing Yesh Atid party headed by Yair Lapid and the Joint Arab List headed by Mansour Abbas. ‘

Rabbi Eliyahu responded sharply to Bennett’s recent coalition, saying they had been forgiven in the previous attempts. “For the sake of unity it was agreed to give them a place to lead the religious-Zionist community,” Rabbi Eliyahu said when the current coalition was formed earlier this month, adding that the previous forgiveness had been a mistake.

“It needs to be made clear to them before they sign [a coalition deal] with Lapid, Labor leader MK Merav Michaeli, Meretz, and [Labor MK] Ibtisam Mara’ana that this time we will not forgive and not forget.

“We will not vote for them in any situation after they fail. We will not give them any opportunity to merge with us [religious-Zionist parties] not even in tenth place [on the electoral list]. You are using your base constituency forever (apart from a few irrelevant extremes). We will guarantee this.”