Israel: The fight for LGBT equality in Israel's Orthodox community

One of the first sessions of Limmud saw a prominent Israeli LGBT activist discuss her ten-year fight for equality with a handful of early arrivals. Zehorit Sorek, from the lesbian Orthodox campaign group Bat Kol, said she and fellow activists feel the problem with LGBT rights in Israel is a social one, rather than a Halachic one.

She told the audience that when she speaks with rabbis and other religiously conservative rabbis, she asks them whether they would prefer their children to be gay or secular. If they are secular they can commit a multitude of sins, she explained, but being gay means they only commit two at most.

As an activist, her role is twofold: one aspect of her work is to communicate with the religious community to lobby for greater acceptance of LGBT Israelis in religious life, and the other is to raise awareness among members of the public. Her most visible campaign, titled ‘Our Faces’, targets young, in-the-closet Israelis who perceive a contradiction between religious observance and homosexuality.

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