Only Israeli spelunkers and astronauts (of various varieties) were unaware of the fact that the so-called Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade was to have been held last Friday, or that it elicited widespread opposition (some of it, unhappily, violent). In the end, the parade was transformed into a 'Happening' at the Hebrew University Amphitheatre at the Givat Ram campus, ושלום על ישראל (sort of).
The events leading up to the parade's cancellation produced so much verbiage, and stirred such strong reactions, that I resisted writing about the issue medias in rem. Now that a week has passed, and public attention is (justifiably) rivetted upon Sederot (while Olmert and the moral midgets concentrate on political survival), I would like to venture three observations on the events surrounding the parade.
I. Dialogue of the Deaf
I think it is apparent that the attempt by homosexuals and their supporters to regularize their presence in Israeli public space through a bid for total acceptance, validation and legitimization is a natural flash-point for conflict with the Religious and Traditional communities (and not merely the Haredim). So-called Gay Rights (as distinguished from general human rights, to which all are entitled), are an expression of a fundamentally, and exclusively, anthropocentric outlook which cannot find common language with those who believe that the Torah is the Word of God. The conflict between the two, on the level of principle, is irresoluble. With all of the importance that the Torah gives to Human dignity and Human Life, there are moments and circumstances that require submission to God's Will, despite our inability to understand it.
No amount of legal casuistry or post-modern babble can explain away the fact that there are issues where the chasm between Judaism and contemporary mores is unbridgeable. That does not mean, God Forbid, that violence should be the result. It is self-evident that there is absolutely no halakhic justification or capacity for such action. Neither is anyone checking into someone's private actions. Things that are done in private are answerable to God alone. No one is God's accountant, or has the right to appoint himself to that position. However, at the same time, it is the height of arrogance, paternalism, and obtuseness to expect the Religious and Traditional communities to accept, much less validate activities that it believes will lead to the driving of Jews from their God-given patrimony.
I, once again, refer to the Rav's famous remarks on the Nature of Torah Study and Accepting the Yoke of Heaven.
II. All's Well in Geulah
A week ago Tuesday, I had to go to Geulah to buy a few things (e.g. Egg Kichel at the Brooklyn בייקערי). I was totally absorbed in a conversation about some academic issue, with son number one, and forgot that driving up to Kikar Shabbat might be, errrr, problematic. (It's a Haredi stronghold). Well, true to form, all of Rehov Yehezqel was ablaze with burning garbage, in protest of the impending parade. That was not such a surprise. It was in all the media. So I turned left, drove around and entered Geulah from the other direction. What I saw was a revelation. The street was teeming with....shoppers, families out for Pizza, you name it. There was no sign of demonstrations or rocks or what not. 'What's going on (0r, not going on),' I asked the proprietor of a household appliances store. 'Only the lunatics (משוגעים) from Toldos Aharon are carrying on,' he explained. 'The rest of us disagree with the parade, but reject their violence, also.'
III. A Parade to Har HaBayit
The only reason that the full scale parade did not take place was because the police were forced to respond to the terror threats after the incident in Beit Hanun. Obviously, the fear of violence is not a reason to deny someone his/her freedom of speech and self-expression. Hence, the Police have lost any valence in preventing Jews from praying on Har HaBayit. There is serious talk of erecting a shul outside of the Temple precincts. במהרה בימינו. אמן