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Haredi MK Who Attended His Nephew’s Same-Sex Wedding Forced to Resign

Yigal Guata became an unlikely champion of LGBT rights

Liel Leibovitz
September 13, 2017

Last week, we brought you the heart-warming story of Yigal Guata, a Member of Knesset from the haredi Shas party who became an unlikely champion of the LGBT community in Israel after he defied the norms of his community and attended the same-sex marriage of nephew, stating that love trumped everything else.

What a difference a week makes: Today, Guata was forced to resign his seat in the parliament after facing severe criticism from a growing roster of rabbis.

“Our souls ache and our ears are burning as we hear that one of our public officials, representing the haredi community, committed an act of blasphemy in public,” read one letter, signed by prominent rabbis affiliated with Shas. Attending a same-sex union, the letter continued, “is forbidden, one of the most strongly prohibited violations in the Torah, which the Torah calls an abomination.”

Guata himself has yet to publicly address his resignation, but his sister, Suzy Ben-Tzvi, told the news website Ynet that she was shocked by her brother’s resignation and livid at the haredi community’s inability to accept the Other.

“Why are the rabbis picking on him, and for what?” she asked. “Why do you need to meddle in people’s private lives? I’m his sister, his flesh and blood, and he came to show me respect… I’m so sorry we’ve come to this.”

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.