$5000 Reward For Killing Gays In Israel

A disturbing development is afoot in Israel, and it involves people blowing other people up. But for once, it doesn’t involve Palestine or Islam.

No, it looks like some wing-nut conservative group is planning on paying people to blow up gay pride marchers.

From Arutz Sheva (Israel National News):

(IsraelNN.com) A leaflet distributed in several neighborhoods in Jerusalem offered NIS 20,000 to anyone who kills participants in the International Gay Pride Parade scheduled to take place in Jerusalem next month.

The flier also suggested that fire bombs be used to kill the participants and gave instructions on how to construct them.

The parade has generated much opposition from many religious groups in the city who are opposed to the holding of such a parade in Jerusalem. Public opinion polls show that the vast majority of Jerusalem residents are against the parade.

Later this week, a police report is expected to be issued as to whether the parade is considered a security risk. If the report determines that it is, the parade may be cancelled.

Now I’m all for free speech rights denouncing or supporting whateverthefuck you want. But this isn’t free speech, this is threatening violence. They need to find whoever published these leaflets and arrest them for intimidation.

Furthermore, I think it’s funny because the Orthodox Jews really don’t have any theological leg to stand on here. I’ll expound on homosexuality in the rabbinical Law after the jump, for those that want to learn more.

Basically, no matter what side of the fence you lie on in Judaism (Orthodox, Reform, whatever), they all condemn violence against gays and support gay rights. From the official position of the Orthodox Committee on Jewish Law and Standards:

Therefore be it resolved that we, the Rabbinical Assembly, while affirming our tradition’s prescription for heterosexuality,
1) Support full civil equality for gays and lesbians in our national life, and
2) Deplore the violence against gays and lesbians in our society, and
3) Reiterate that, as are all Jews, gay men and lesbians are welcome as members in our congregations, and
4) Call upon our synagogues and the arms of our movement to increase our awareness, understanding and concern for our fellow Jews who are gay and lesbian.

The Reform Jews are more or less okay with homosexuality, and will usually ordain homosexual rabbis and perform homosexual marriages.

But the ultra-Orthodox are the ones that are behind this leaflet, most likely. But what does a strict interpretation of the Law reveal? That homosexuality is only really mentioned twice in the Torah, never in the Tanakh, and neither time it is actually condemned.

The first “proof text” offered would be the mitzvah Leviticus 18:22, the English translation of which typically reads:

You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.

However, the actual Hebrew reads:

וְאֶת-זָכָר–לֹא תִשְׁכַּב, מִשְׁכְּבֵי אִשָּׁה: תּוֹעֵבָה, הִוא.


V’et zachar lo tishkav mishk’vey eeshah toeyvah hee.

The most literal translation of this would be “And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman, it is ritually impure.” The word “toeyvah” has been erroneously translated by most Hebrew scholars into English as “abomination” or “enormous sin” or the like. In reality, however, “toeyvah” means “ritually impure.” It was translated into Greek for the Septuagint back around 300 BC as “bdelygma,” meaning “ritually impure.” This would put it in the same category as women on their periods, people who had just had sex, et cetera. It just meant that they couldn’t partake in a few ceremonial aspects of the Jewish religion temporarily. If the author of the verse had wished to call homosexuality a moral sin, he would have likely used the Hebrew “zimah.”

I doubt even the most conservative ultra-Orthodox Jew would desire to throw firebombs at women on their periods. So why gays?

Stuart Richards

Stuart Richards is a 26-year-old land surveyor based out of Portland, OR. He is a left-leaning geolibertarian and (theologically) liberal Christian, and has been blogging on HammerofTruth.com and other libertarian sites since 2004.

  1. Considering that even gays are required to serve in the IDF and are also required to have their weapons at hand for defence this sounds like a real dumbass move on someone’s part. While American gays who march are unlikely to have an M-16 or an Uzi at their disposal, these IDF gay and lesbian marchers are likely to be armed. Especially given the current state of affairs on the West Bank.

  2. Stuart — I can honestly say I did not know this about the translation piece.

    It’s rather like the statement about witches (to tie in another post from today/yesterday) in the King James Edition being a mistranslation as well…

    “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” is the accepted translation. In fact the actual term meant something more along the lines of “poisoner” (with social connotations) rather than ‘witch.’

    So witches are okay, but the ruthless hag down the street who always tears things apart… thems is supposed to die! :)

  3. The reason for the translation to be done as it was was because King James I of England (who authorized the main Bible translation into English) had accusations against him of sodomy, so he ordered his translators to go extra hard on homosexuality pretty much anywhere they could. Anti-homosexuality found itself ingrained in Anglophone cultures and now it would be economic suicide for pretty much any common Bible translation to go “soft” on homosexuality by properly translating the verse.

  4. This flier is so nutty and offensive that I wonder if it is being distributed with the intent of trying to demonize some Orthodox group; to make them look like potentially hateful killers, or conversely, by some anti-homosexual group as a ploy to stop the parade. I really don’t have a clue, as I am not that well- versed in Israeli politics, but it just seems to stupid to be real. Of course, in that part of the world, I suppose what would be really stupid is to not take any bomb threat seriously.

  5. Seems like Leviticus 20:13 would be a bit harder to explain away? Does “abomination” mean “ritual impurity” there, too? I suppose “put to death” probably means “made to wash up before Temple.”

    (Regardless, you are right that conspiring to commit murder crosses the line between swinging your fist and hitting the other guy’s nose.)

  6. Hmm.

    Well, it does look more likely, but it’s still debatable. I’d be interested in seeing what a Hebrew scholar would have to say.

    But ultimately, you’re right and it’s immaterial to the debate at hand.

  7. Not quite a Hebrew scholar, but the translation of toevyah means abomination and not ritual impurity. Perhaps you could translate it as moral impurity: and it is so impure that it was in the eyes of Scripture deserving of death, by transforming sex into something that has no motive except lust. For the Torah, the only acceptable motive for sexual congress is to produce children as part of a Torah-observant household, and anything that runs against that is condemned by Scripture, although not necessarily to the same degree as this particular type of action is. If you have homosexual sex, you display a disregard for moral norms (in the eyes of the Torah) that makes the penalty of caret–being cut off in this world and the next world–thoroughly logical.

    Strangely enough, this runs only to males. Lesbianism is nowhere referred to, much less condemned, in Scripture.

    Part 2 to follow in another comment

  8. Part 2:
    As for the threats themselves, this is quite consistent with Charedi actions in the last decade or so. Part of it comes from the privileges they enjoy in the Israeli political and social welfare systems; part of it comes from the fact that they have an alternate school system (funded by the government, but run entirely independently of the regular schools) which leaves the younger generation seriously uneducated in science, history, and anything else that is not religious in nature. They are taught very little in secular studies, and much of that is, in terms of quality, very little. Imagine a school which devotes ninety percent of its day to Bible study, and during that other ten percent teaches, as the only science subject, a very basic version of Creationism. They have very little respect for anyone not like them because they can’t accept anything that seems to conflict with Torah.

    On to part 3

  9. part 3:
    And because of this ignorance/fundamentalist outlook, you can’t go by what the Rabbinical Assembly says. The RA is rabbis who have had at least a moderate amount of secular education, and who don’t automatically reject what other people say.

    In the eyes of these people, the Gay Pride Parade is an act of agression against God and His Holy City, and its participants, by living the sort of lifestyle they do, are directly challenging God and the Torah.

    Ultimately, it’s the same sort of mindset that produced Toevyah Goldstein, who killed the Moslems praying in the Hebron mosque. This sort of violent threat is unfortunately not very extreme in Charedi discourse.

  10. Phelps,

    You and your bunch cowarded out in Republic, Missouri, and if you’re lurking on here for more masturbatory material… don’t bother. Go back to sleeping with your sister.

  11. For the record as a member of a Conservative Synagogue: The Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards is not Orthodox. The RA is the association of Conservative Rabbis. They in no way speak for the Orthodox community. See their website at http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/