Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Religious MKs Slam J'lem Gay Tourism Campaign

Gay Times in Jerusalem (Photo: Eitan Tal)
Original Article:
YNetNews.com / Jewish World
Ronny Sofer
Published: 05.29.07, 16:37 / Israel Jewish Scene

Religious MKs Slam J'lem Gay Tourism Campaign
New 'pink Jerusalem' campaign aimed at promoting gay tourism in capital and partly sponsored by state, angers religious legislators who threaten no-confidence motion over issue.
"This is a delusional campaign for a minority with a normative defect," Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said Tuesday, responding to reports about a new Ministry of Tourism international campaign promoting gay tourism in Jerusalem.

The campaign, produced by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Homosexuals and Lesbians organization, together with the Tourism Ministry, features same-sex couples photographed at tourist attractions and places of historic interest in the capital.

"I unequivocally reject the attempt to focus a state-sponsored campaign on a delusional minority that suffers from a normative defect," Yishai said, "Jerusalem and Amsterdam are the same for these people. Therefore, those who fail to recognize Jerusalem's holiness had better stay away from it."

Tourism Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that the campaign was initiated by his predecessor, Abraham Hirchson, and then he himself rejected it strongly.

'Campaign undermines status-quo'
MK Benyamin Elon (National Union), a former tourism minister, harshly protested the issue to the tourism minister Tuesday, and received a reply from Aharonovitch that the campaign photos were published without his knowledge, and that he planned to instruct his office not to promote the matter in the future.

Meanwhile, the party threatened to file a no-confidence motion to the Knesset over the affair.

Another former tourism minister, MK Yitzhak Levy (National Union-NRP), also referred to the campaign saying, "I protest the portrayal of Israel as a pink, namely – gay, paradise. Israel used to be famous for values and holiness, and here a red line has been crossed."

Shlomo Rosenstein, a member of the Jerusalem city council representing the United Torah Judaism, said that, "The Jerusalem municipality and the haredi coalition are doing their utmost to maintain the peaceful atmosphere in town, which has proved itself in the last three years. Provocations will do no nothing for Jerusalem but undermine the status-quo and coexistence within the fragile fabric of life and relations between the different sectors in Jerusalem.

"I'm surprised that the Tourism Ministry and the person heading it chose to destroy, rather than build. This campaign is disgusting and will drive tourists away from Jerusalem and Israel."

Yael Eichenwald contributed to the report

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