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Holland's chief rabbi this week spoke out against one of his country's most highly-cherished values, slamming abortions and saying that "Dutch society is becoming too progressive with a dangerously permissive attitude."

Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs made the statement to Haaretz in reaction to protests by gay and lesbian organizations opposed to the holding of a three-day world congress on family values in Amsterdam, where Jacobs, a member of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe, was the keynote speaker.

"The liberal attitudes in the Netherlands have gone too far," he said. "No one said anything against gay people at the conference. We only said good things about family values. Surely our celebration of the traditional family is as legitimate as their celebration of other views."

Jacobs was one of a series of speakers at the event which was also addressed by the Dutch deputy prime minister and minister for youth and family, Andre Rouvoet. The minister's attendance was one event that spurred pro-choice supporters and gay rights groups to demonstrate outside the conference venue.

"The family unit is under constant attack," said Jacobs, who stated he opposed most abortions, including those of babies with Down syndrome.

"They also have a right to exist," he said.