Pride on Parade

250,000 young men and women closed the major streets and by-ways of Tel-Aviv for their annual demonstration of pride. What kind of pride? For the marchers, pride of being gay.

I have no personal objection or dislike of gay individuals. Many of them contribute to the culture of the society in which they live. Tel-Aviv appears to be the gay hub of Israel, the largest gay center in the Middle East. Gay people flock to Israel from European countries to taste what the country has to offer. And from watching the parade, the offerings look delicious.

I do object, however, to the pride parades in Jerusalem, a city which is home to three religions, all of whom rely on biblical sources to condemn homosexuality. The pride parade should not be permitted to pass by communities which are centers of religious populations.

Tel-Aviv, on the other hand, welcomes the marchers and the onlookers. It’s good for business.

But what I have failed to understand is the reason for gay people to demonstrate their pride through marches. I am a heterosexual. Does that mean that I can demonstrate my pride in heterosexuality by marching through city streets?

Is there no better way to demonstrate pride? What about being proud to be a Jew? What about pride in being an Israeli citizen? What about pride in being a decent loving human being? Leaving sex out of it does not deprive one of individual nor communal pride.

Should Yemenites and Moroccans march through the streets, proud of their ancient heritage, singing songs of former centuries set to Arabic melodies? Would non-Yemenites or non-Moroccans object?

I am very proud of our Druze population, for example. Should I help them organize a Druze march through the Galilee?

Where does pride begin and where does it end?

250,000 young gay men and women certainly have the right to march. No one should prevent it. It would be nicer if they didn’t have to display half-naked bodies while marching. One can also take pride in wearing appropriate clothing.

But can an individual not be proud without having to publicly display pride?

Let me clarify.  I am not and have never been anti-gay. I know many fine gay men and women and have worked with them side by side while teaching for many years in university. I respect them for who they are and for the fine contributions they make to their professions.

With regard to the biblical prohibition of homosexuality, something to which I firmly object, it is based upon one line in Leviticus (Vayikra) chapter 18 verse 21. “A man should not lie with a man as with a woman”.

Maimomides upheld his support of that law, the punishment for which was stoning. He belierved that sex between two males was a cardinal sin deserving of implementation of a death penalty.

Happily, Rashi in his wise commentary, disagreed with the intention of the law by claiming that the law referred to sexual cohabitation anally (sodomy). Penetration between male and male was prohibited. he agreed.. But Rashi did not support negative views on other homosexual relations as long as no penetration takes place between two males

Hats off to Rashi. We need more rabbis like him. Obviously being born in France he was acquainted with French sexual mores whereas the Lithuanian rabbis saw nothing like it within the walls of their ghettos..

Perhaps gay male marchers could hold up signs for all to read: “Maimonides says I am naughty. Please don’t stone me” and another sign reading “Rashi is on my side”.

I don’t mean to make a mockery of the many thousands of decent, well-intentioned, loving companions in our beautiful country who simply happen to be gay.  I don’t know if it is from birth or from choice. And to quote from a famous American film star of “Gone With the Wind”… “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn”.

I am not critical of the gay marchers and I wish them all good health and long loving years.

I only want to understand why there is a necessity to publicly display their gay pride.What does it achieve?

There is nothing wrong with sex in the closets !
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About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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