What Islamic State and One Member of Knesset Share

Habayit Hayehudi's Bezalel Smotrich upholds a Torah view of homosexuality as an abomination and we know where that can lead.

Bezalel Smotrich.
Olivier Fittousi

When Knesset member Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) was asked if because of the reservations the head of his own party, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, had concerning his article on the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, in which he called it a “parade of abomination” Smotrich would take back the phrase he used, the deputy speaker of the Knesset refused, explaining: “It is written in the Torah, and I don’t censor the Torah.”

Smotrich is right. He did not invent it. It is God. And he, Smotrich, is only quoting the words of the Lord, as written in the Holy Torah (Leviticus, 20:13): “And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: They shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Here it is, written explicitly. A fact. Abomination, a real abomination.

But Smotrich has “forgotten” to tell us that the Torah does not only rule that homosexual acts are an abomination, but it also states in the very same verse that those who do perform such acts “shall surely be put to death,” both of them.

It is obvious that this honorable Knesset member does not intend, God forbid, that the one to carry out the sentence of those who perform these abominations will be a knife-wielding Yishai Schlissel. After all, God has not abandoned Israel — and there are judges and justice in Jewish law. And Smotrich does not only talk but he also does, and with three other MKS — Miki Zohar (Likud), Yoav Ben-Tzur (Shas) and Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) — he has sponsored a proposed law which states that we should “turn to the sources of the tradition of Israel in deciding legal questions that have cannot be decided by legislation or court rulings.”

Let us examine then what the halakha (Jewish law) says, after all it is “the tradition of Israel,” which the parliamentarian Smotrich and his brothers in faith want for us to live by. Let us look at how we should carry out — as written in the Talmud in the tractate of Sanhedrin — the death sentence the Torah has ordered which is of course the word of God himself, and therefore must not be censored or deviated from.

And so, according to the “tradition of Israel,” whoever is caught in the abomination of homosexual acts is to be stoned to death. And how do we do this, according to halakha?

Here is what is written in Wikipedia, translating into modern language the ancient words of the Talmud: “After the Jewish criminal has been determined as guilty before the Great Sanhedrin, the two valid witnesses and the sentenced criminal go to the edge of a two story building. From there the two witnesses are to push the criminal off the roof of a two-story building. The two-story height is chosen as the height estimated by the Talmud to effect a quick and painless demise but is not so high that the body will become dismembered. After the criminal has fallen, the two witnesses are to drop a large boulder onto the criminal, requiring both of the witnesses to lift the boulder together. If the criminal did not die from the fall or from the crushing of the large boulder, then any people in the surrounding area are to quickly cause him to die by stoning with whatever rocks they can find.” Until his soul departs.

And if this description reminds you of what the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) does to those who it views in their eyes, and in the eyes of Smotrich and the Torah, as performing the abominable acts of homosexuality, you are of course completely right. ISIS may be throwing the gays off of eight-story buildings, but it seems that is only because the world has “progressed” a bit from the days of the Torah and halakhic decisions, and nothing more.

And in the Holy Torah for Smotrich and his colleagues there is not only a death sentence for homosexuals, but also for those who desecrate the Sabbath. As it says in the Book of Exodus, 31:14: “Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore, for it is holy unto you; every one that profaneth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” And the death sentence for Sabbath desecrators is supposed to be carried out, according to halakha, exactly the same way - stoning, just like for homosexuals, as ISIS makes sure to do in its meticulous implementation of the letter of the law.

And toward such a “halakhic state” with laws like these, the Smotriches are leading us, in faith and with certainty.