Starting at noon on Thursday, the Pride parade in Jerusalem will leave the Bell Tower Garden towards Independence Park. Despite lots of criticism surrounding the parade in Jerusalem which has a large traditional majority, as well as threats of violence from Palestinian militants as well as some extremist Jewish groups. Among the participants showing up to support the Parade and the LGBT community will be Yair Faran, an Orthodox rabbi and educator at Himmelfarb High School in the city who also happens to be the great-grandson of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef; who was the spiritual leader of the Ultra-Orthodox Sephardic (Shas) movement in Israel.
Faran, who is married and the father of two daughters, wanted to clearly express his support for the gay community to Israeli reporters. "It is important that we know that there is a possibility for different publics and audiences to live in Jerusalem, which has no specific sexual orientation or identity, especially in view of the fact that it is a public that pours its heart over and over again into many industries and in all kinds of contexts," he explained, "this parade is not a religious matter."
Escalating tensions: Far-right Jews and #Hamas fuel the fire of incitement against the Jerusalem Pride Parade, intensifying concerns over the safety and rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Urgent efforts needed to promote tolerance, respect, and inclusivity. #JerusalemPride @LGBT pic.twitter.com/etzpXvzuaY— Faith Eva Alon (@FaithEvaAlon) June 1, 2023
Faran added: "In the end, there are people here that carry this different orientation. There are no reservations here. If a person says, 'I am not attracted to a woman,' and wants to have a relationship with a man, what will I tell him? To sit alone for the rest of his life? The halachic story is complex and should be brought up for discussion In a one-on-one format. Those who want to deal with their sexual orientation within the framework of Halacha can contact a religious teacher who will help them find the right path."
Faran’s remarks come after a Jerusalem City Council meeting last week, when the chairman of the "Awakening" movement, Adir Schwartz, proposed a series of measures designed to improve the status of the LGBT community in the city. The issue caused a stir. Yoni Yosef, a member of the council, interrupted Schwartz's words and said that "This is an issue that most of the city's residents are not interested in. Jerusalem is one of the four holy cities. There are psychologists and there are psychiatrists, there is no need for a special budget for anyone in particular. Even Aryeh King, the deputy mayor, said that "If they are normal, why do they need separate budgets?"
Despite the remarks by city officials, all-in-all the city has prepared for the parade with thousands of police officers to ensure the safety of all those participating. In the meantime, it seems the terrorist organization Hamas was the only group to physically threaten the parade with violence. The organization's spokesman Abdel-Latif Al-Kano'a condemned the parade and said: "We condemn the pervert's parade in occupied Jerusalem, and call for an escalation in the confrontation with it and a strengthening of the boycott on all levels."