Right-wing Ministers Go to Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade, Get Facebook Backlash

After voicing support of LGBT community, Miri Regev and Ophir Akunis get thousands of likes, but also hundreds of comments accusing them of backing 'Sodom and Gomorrah.'

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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Reveler at Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, June 12, 2015.
Reveler at Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, June 12, 2015.Credit: Ilan Assayag
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

Two right-cabinet ministers had a rude awakening after voicing their support for the LGBT community on Facebook, after participating in the Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade on Friday.

Ministers Miri Regev and Ophir Akunis posted photos taken with members of the Likud party's gay group, getting thousands of likes, but also hundreds of negative responses from surfers who expressed revulsion at their support of the gay community.

On his Facebook page, Akunis wrote: "Today, at the opening of the parade, I thought of all those people who are only interested in slandering Israel, in uttering such nonsense and in supporting boycotts. If they really knew Israel and could see the hundreds of thousands of people celebrating here – coming from around the world – they would understand where there is freedom, liberty and the upholding of individual rights. There is still much to be done to advance the cause of the LGBT community.”

On her Facebook page, Regev wrote: "A real celebration, joy and many smiles at the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv. I joined the march together with gay Likud members and it was simply enjoyable. I met members of the gay community from Yesh Atid and Meretz – what is common to us is that there is no difference between right and left, religious or secular, men and women. We are all for accepting the ‘Other’ and support equal rights for everyone. So, whoever is still celebrating, continue to have fun.”

“Writing as a Likudnik in heart and soul – Akunis, shame on you! You and Regev are betraying those who elected you. Your hypocrisy is enough to make one vomit. This isn’t freedom and democracy - it’s perdition!” wrote Avi Avraham Hazan in response to Akunis’s post. Another surfer, Nissim Levi, joined the protest: “Shame on you. What you call a pride parade is really a parade of shame to moral Jewish Judaism” he wrote, adding that the punishment for homosexuals and lesbians is death.

“There is a very bad odor emanating from your words” wrote Shlomo Ben-Lulu to Akunis. “Disgusting! A disgrace! A parade of abomination!”, wrote Eli Polturak. Moshe Azulai wrote: “Representatives of the government of the Jewish state are acting against Judaism, against the Torah and the Creator. Then they ask the gentiles to recognize them as a Jewish state! This is the state of Sodom and Gomorrah, a government of abomination.”

Another surfer, Roni Nakav, wrote that “with all due respect to gays, the Israel of morals and values does not have to become the gay capital or the symbol of freedom in this aspect. Any pairing which is not of a male and a female is abnormal and anyone wishing to deviate from the norm should do so in his or her home, not out in the open. We’re fed up already with the legitimacy that’s given to this terrible and inconceivable thing. Looking at the pictures, it seems that Israel has turned into Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Regev’s Facebook page also received hundreds of similar reactions, many of which received dozens of likes. “Disgusting. A stench arising from the entire country. Shame and disgrace. Sodom and Gomorrah in the land of Israel. Is this the Eretz Yisrael to which our forefathers walked towards, day and night?” wrote Moshe Cohen, referring to Regev’s comments. “Enough polluting this country with these mental diseases” added Elyashiv Trebs.

חגיגה אמיתית, שמחה והמון חיוכים במצעד הגאווה בתל אביב.הסתובבתי במצעד יחד עם חברי מהתא הגאה בליכוד והיה פשוט מהנה. פג...

“Before you were a minister you didn’t talk this way” Yakir Elimelech wrote Regev. “All of a sudden you have friends from Meretz? Just something to think about, Miri. You’re not yet on the Olympus! It’s a bit hypocritical of you but it’s a free world do as you please! Don’t forget, these weren’t the last elections,” he warned. Alon Cohen sent a similar message: “Shame on you Miri – 99% of the public who voted for you strongly opposes this sick parade.”

“Miri Regev – don’t you have anything better to do than fawning on them?” asked Mordechai Motti Butra. “All you’re doing and have done is ruin things – how low can you stoop in order to be liked by those stupid and evil people?” Eli Biran added: “When is Pedophile Day celebrated? That too is only a deviation.”

Akunis tried to moderate some of the criticism addressed at him and to cool things down. He answered one surfer, Yaakov Barsheshet, who had protested Akunis’s participation in the parade and had asked if he also attends ceremonies of introducing Torah scrolls into synagogues. The minister’s team replied: “Yes he does, and for your information, at the exit of Gan Meir, at a Habad stall, he put on tefillin (phylacteries).” Relating to the inflamed responses, the team wrote: “The Akunis team: we’d like to request mutual respect. There is no place for some of the words uttered in relating to people’s sexual orientation. Everyone should do as they see fit. Shabbat Shalom.”

Regev, who was the only Likud representative in the previous Knesset’s gay lobby, has not yet responded to the deluge of negative responses she got.

היום, בפתיחת מצעד הגאווה בתל אביב, חשבתי על כל אלה שמה שמעניין אותם בחיים זה להשמיץ את מדינת ישראל, לדבר כל כך הרבה שטוי...

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