Far-right Party Head on Pride Parade: Should Someone Who Loves Dogs Parade That, Too?

Rabbi Rafi Peretz later apologized for the wording of his statement

Rafi Peretz during a Habayit Hayehudi convention in Petah Tikva, February 20, 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

The chairman of Habayit Hayehudi and the Union of Right-Wing Parties, Rabbi Rafi Peretz, criticized the gay pride parade on Wednesday, comparing it to holding a parade for dog lovers, which he deemed an unnecessary public display. He later apologized, although he had said something similar in a different interview recently.

“The fact that LGBTs want to live their lives the way they want, I’m no one’s boss to decide that for them,” Peretz told Channel 12 News. “On a national level to come and say that we’re going to say that we’re changing the nature of the Jewish home, it’s not appropriate for me, as someone who is raising the banner of religious Zionism," said Peretz, who was formerly the chief military rabbi said.

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"Let them live how they want to live. I don’t think we have to make a parade out of it. Someone who loves … I don’t know … I don’t like dogs at home – not to compare, yes? I’m just giving an example. So, should I make a parade out of that? The public sphere needs to pass under a discerning eye; in the private sphere it’s perfectly fine,” Peretz added. 

Peretz then hastened to apologize for his remarks, tweeting, “In response to the question about the gay pride parade I failed in my language in a way that presumably is going to hurt many people. Immediately after I said it I took back the phrasing, and I once again deeply apologize. It’s clear that this apology will not prevent tonight’s headline that will intensify baseless hatred, and I very much regret that. I respect every person as he is and don’t intervene in anyone’s private life.”

Yet around a month ago Peretz expressed similar sentiments in an interview with Channel 20. “A family is ‘man and woman he created them,’ it’s not another way,” he said. “From a private perspective I respect everyone. But to make a parade out if it? Anyone who’s somewhat different should hold a parade? I don’t see a value in that.”

Several members of the slate Peretz heads have expressed negative views about the gay community and the gay pride parade. Betzalel Smotrich, National Union chairman and second on the joint ticket, called the parade “the beasts’ parade” in 2006 in response to the pride parade in Jerusalem. He later said he regretted that remark, but in 2015, after Shira Banki was murdered at the Jerusalem pride parade, he called it the “abomination parade.” Itamar Ben-Gvir, a candidate on the ticket representing Otzma Yehudit, has petitioned the courts against holding the pride parade in Jerusalem.