Esor Ben-Sorek

Sane sex or same sex

First of all, let me be honest and clear. I am not and have never been opposed to members of the LGBT.

In my many years as a professor I had occasions to meet several gay male students and fewer lesbians.

I found them all to be decent, educated and cultured, who did not go into a polling station to vote for their choice of sexuality. However they chose, or was influenced on them by others, does not concern me. They have the same rights of life choices as all non-gay persons.

I support them and their rights of choice. Many of them are highly educated and make distinct contributions to the society in general.

In Israel I knew of doctors and surgeons, members of the Knesset and government agencies who chose a life-style that brought them love, companionship, and much happiness.

We have in our Knesset and government ministries two or three gay men married to other gay men. They love one another and they love the children who were conceived by surrogates or adopted from facilities abroad.

Two mommies or two daddies was once a concern to children who were afraid of being ridiculed by their classmates. It is now no longer a concern and children are loved by two parents.

I have never objected to two of the same sex living together. They are bound in love and respect for one another and I dare to say that they may be happier than many male-female couples.

I do have two personal objections, however. The annual gay pride parade in Tel-Aviv is a spectacular event watched by thousands of Israelis and tourists. It is a happy event, one which many straight people look forward to being physically present and to cheer on the marchers. I myself have never attended it. I see no need to see something which may not appeal to me. What is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.

On the other hand, I dislike the gay parade on the streets of Jerusalem only for the reason that the holy city is home to large communities of very religious people… Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Since homosexuality is forbidden by all three religious faiths, the gay parade is an offense to them. Their sensitivities must be respected.

Interestingly, homosexuality is mentioned in our Hebrew Bible. In one instance, Noah was drunk and fell into a stupor while he was naked. One of his grandsons, Ham, approached him and was aroused by the sight of his naked grandfather. He sexually performed an act upon Noah, who when he awoke and knew what grandson Ham had done to him, he pronounced a curse upon him.

In another instance, strangers (angels) arrived in a village and having no place to lodge, Lot invited them to be his house guests. That evening, men of the village arrived at Lot’s home and began banging on the door. When Lot asked them what they wanted they all replied “bring us the men in your house so that we may know them”.

The verb “to know” in Hebrew is a term for sexual contact. Lot refused, saying that his guests were under his protection and could not be violated. Instead, Lot offered the men his virgin daughters!

The classical reference to homosexuality is the loving relationship between David and prince Jonathan, son of King Saul. Saul sought to get rid of David while Jonathan sought to protect him.

Saul condemned his son for the relationship with David. He chastised prince Jonathan telling him that he was aware of the nasty things they had been doing.

When Saul intended to kill David, Jonathan ran to him and helped him to escape from King Saul’s wrath.

Later, in a battle with the Philistines, Jonathan was slaughtered. When word of his death was brought to David, he tore his clothing and wept bitterly, crying out “O Jonathan, Jonathan, my faithful friend. Your love was more precious to me than the love of women”. Expression of genuine love between two men.

My second objection to same sex marriage is difficult to explain. I have no objection to two same sex persons LIVING together and having sex with one another but I am NOT in favor of same-sex marriages. For me, it is a violation of Jewish religious traditions to which I adhere.

Since it is impossible for the couples to marry in Israel, most take the short flight to Cyprus and have a civil marriage. Upon their return to Israel, the marriage is not recognized by the rabbinical authorities.

Babies who are born through a Jewish surrogate are recognized by the ministry of interior and are registered with birth certificates indicating the names of the two parents.

Israel for several years has been a haven for homosexuals. Those who come as tourists from abroad proclaim the city of Tel-Aviv as the center of open gay life in all the Middle East.

In that respect, we have become “famous”. Some might prefer to call it infamous. Sexual relations between consenting adults (not pedophiles or some who attack children or rape them) is a personal matter between the individuals involved.

It is not for us to judge them. We would be better to understand them and to respect their needs. Love is one of our greatest emotions. It is powerful and unyielding to objections or criticisms

Once several years ago my wife and I were staying at the Sheraton hotel (now the Leonardo Plaza hotel) in Jerusalem next to the city’s Independence park. We sat on a bench next to a middle aged man with a young child of about 10. The child was tossing a tennis ball into the air and was trying to catch it.

The ball soon ran next to a large tree and a very tall bush and the child ran to retrieve it from the bush. What he saw startled him. Two young men were having sex under the bush protected by the branches and leaves.

Suddenly, and without finding his tennis ball, the child ran back excitedly and screamed “saba, saba…bo, bo maher”… grandfather, grandfather, come, come quickly.

His grandfather followed him to the bush and he saw the two men engaging in sexual acts. Very disturbed he shouted at them “busha v’cherpa”.. what you are doing in a public place is a shame and a disgrace. One of the men threw the tennis ball out of the bush and into the grassy area of the park.

As the man and his grandson began walking away one of the men in the bush shouted at him in Arabic.

The man returned to the bench where my wife and I were sitting and he told us what he had seen. My wife was visibly shocked and I was astounded. Public parks where children play should be off-limits to sexual activities of any kind. My wife was upset for the rest of the day.

Sane sex or same sex. It is the decision of the people who seek it. The rest of us need not close our eyes to it but rather we should close our mouths and keep our opinions to ourselves. Except when children are involved.

Psychiatrists have long believed than ten percent of the population of a country are homosexuals.

With nine million people in Israel, you do the math.

And remember what our Torah teaches us. “V’ahavta l’rayacha kamocha”. Love your friend as you love yourself..

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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