The ultra-orthodox Israeli mayor of Beit Shemesh city, Moshe Abutbul, stated there are no gays in his “holy and pure” city suggesting the Health Ministry and the police should “take care of them,” live on local TV on Friday.
The Aguda, Israel’s main LGBT association has filed a complaint on Sunday with local police against the mayor for inciting hate speech.
Abutbul stated on TV on Friday night that being gay was a problem that needed to be dealt with by “the Health Ministry or the police,” reported the daily Ha’aretz.
The ultra-orthodox mayor, who was reelected mayor of Beit Shemesh three weeks ago, also said, “We have none of those things [gays] here. Thank God, this city is holy and pure.”
A complaint was filed by the Aguda, with the police and a letter sent to Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar, stating: “These statements by an incumbent mayor in the State of Israel comparing the LGBT community to lawbreakers who must be dealt with by the police or dangers to public health constitute incitement according to Statutes 144(b) and 144(f) of the penal code.”
“This constitutes incitement, urging attacks on and a show of contempt for the LGBT community,” said Shai Doitsh, the chairman of the Aguda. “What would the mayor of Beit Shemesh say if he were to hear another mayor say on television that he would deal with Haredim through the police and the Health Ministry? Would he think it was appropriate for such a person to continue serving as the mayor of a city?”
Eli Cohen, who lost the mayoral election race to Abutbul, criticized the mayor and his party Shas on his Facebook page, saying, “The mayor needs to understand that people with whom he does not agree, people who are different from him, are also within his sphere of responsibility.
“The statement that ‘the Health Ministry will deal with them’ is not fitting for a public figure and should certainly not be directed toward the long-time residents of Beit Shemesh. Abutbul has not learned that there are residents in the city who are different from him, and he has an obligation to treat them properly.”
Abutbul is already under the investigation of Israel’s Police force for allegations of voter fraud in Beit Shemesh, following reports of forgery and irregularities at polling stations.