Ultra-Orthodox Israeli MP quits amid gay wedding criticism

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An ultra-Orthodox Jewish member of Israel’s parliament has resigned after prominent rabbis criticised him for attending his gay nephew’s wedding.

Yigal Guetta revealed in a radio interview on Sunday that he had gone to the ceremony two years ago.
He said that although same-sex marriage was against his religious beliefs he had wanted to make his nephew happy.
But five rabbis accused Mr Guetta of desecrating God’s name and demanded that the religious Shas party fire him.
Same-sex weddings held in Israel are not sanctioned by the state. However, couples who wed abroad can register officially as married couples.
In his interview with Army Radio, Mr Guetta explained why he had chosen to attend his nephew’s wedding.
“I told my kids before we went: ‘You should know that we’re going in order to make him happy, because he’s my sister’s son, and she’s my sister and I want to embrace her. But the Torah says this [relationship] is forbidden and an abomination,” he was quoted as saying by the Times of Israel.
Then he added: “‘What can you do? My own judgment is irrelevant here.'”
But a letter published on Monday by five rabbis said a same-sex marriage was “a terrible prohibition, among the most severe in the Torah”.
They called on the leaders of Shas “to not endorse this terrible desecration of God’s blessed name and to remove and fire [Mr Guetta] immediately”.
Mr Guetta did not issue a statement after giving up his seat in the Knesset.
But the Haaretz newspaper cited a source close to him as saying he had refused to apologise and decided to leave before being asked to do so by Shas leaders.
The head of the secular Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid, tweeted: “It’s sad that in Israel in 2017 a [Member of the Knesset] is forced to resign because he participated in the wedding of two people who love each other.”

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