Haredi school cancels Rivlin visit over LGBT support

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A haredi Orthodox school in Jerusalem canceled a visit by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin reportedly over his support for the LGBT community following the deadly attack at the city’s gay pride parade.

Kehilat Yaakov administrators sent a letter to Rivlin on Tuesday via the Jerusalem municipality nixing the visit, which was scheduled for Sunday, the first day of school in the haredi community. He was to be part of a class on unconditional love.

The school cited the president’s statements following the stabbing attack at the Jerusalem gay pride parade that left one teenage marcher dead, according to Israeli news reports. Rivlin condemned the attack, calling it “a terrible hate crime.”

Army Radio, which first reported the cancellation, reported on Wednesday that several haredi rabbis had pressured the school to cancel the appearance.

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The chairman of the Knesset Education Committee, Yaakov Margi of the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party, said the committee was considering dismissing the head of the school over the incident, according to Army Radio.

The Education Ministry in a statement issued Wednesday said it views the incident as “very serious” and reaffirmed that it encourages teaching “tolerance, acceptance of others and pluralism.”

The President’s Office said in a statement that it regretted the decision, but hoped that many would attend the lesson on unconditional love.

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