An ultra-Orthodox Israeli lawmaker has resigned after coming under fire for attending his nephew’s gay wedding. Colleagues and rabbis accuse him of supporting one of the “most severe” violations of Jewish law.
Although Yigal Guetta went to the wedding two years ago, his attendance only emerged on August 29 when he shared the experience on Army Radio.
“The whole family went [to the wedding], my wife and I and the kids, who I don’t usually tell which events they should go to. But for this, I said that showing up is mandatory,” the Shas party MP said, as quoted by The Times of Israel.
However, he made clear that he did not agree with gay marriages, despite attending the event.
“I told my kids before we went, ‘You should know that we’re going in order to make him happy, because he’s my sister’s son, and she’s my sister and I want to embrace her. But the Torah says this [relationship] is forbidden and an abomination.”
“What can you do? My judgment is irrelevant here.”
Then he shouldn’t have gone, Guetta’s critics promptly fired back.
“Yigal should not have taken part in that celebration,” Yitzhak Vaknin, a fellow MP for the Shas party, told Army Radio, as quoted by AFP.
“There is no situation in which it is permitted to take part in an event like that,” he said. “It is totally forbidden.”
A group of rabbis published a letter Monday, urging Guetta’s removal from his post, accusing him of “publicly desecrating God’s will” by forcing his family to attend the wedding.
“So-and-so,” they wrote, “told his entire family that they were required to attend the ‘wedding’ of his nephew, which is a terrible prohibition, among the most severe of the most severe in the Torah.”
They called on “anyone who hears this, this call and cry to all the leaders [of Shas], not to endorse this terrible desecration of God’s blessed name, and to remove and fire [Guetta] immediately from his public position to a position that has no public role, and to advertise the fact of his firing.”
On Wednesday, Guetta submitted his resignation to the chairman of the Shas party, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.
The MP did not release a statement following his resignation, but a source close to the lawmaker told Haaretz he had refused to apologize for his attendance at the event, and decided to leave before being requested to do so by the party’s religious leadership body, the Council of Torah Sages.
Deri accepted the resignation and believes Guetta can still play a role within the Shas party, people close to group told Haaretz.
Guetta’s daughter, Simchu Guetta said she is proud of her father for his display of family loyalty.
“It’s his nephew,” she told Israeli public radio.
“In submitting his resignation he apparently knows what he is doing,” she continued. “I am behind him all the way.”