Madrid Jewish community denies rabbi’s anti-gay statements

(JTA) — The Jewish community of Madrid has denied the authenticity of quotes attributed to its chief rabbi, in which he reportedly called homosexuals “deviants” who need “re-educating.”

“For a very long time now, we have been supporting the gay community’s fight against discrimination,” read a statement by the community published Tuesday in Religion Digital, a Spanish-language news website.


The statement came after an  interview with Rabbi Moshe Bendahan which was published on the website last week. The rabbi is quoted as saying: “Homosexuality is a deviation from nature. It’s an anti-natural tendency and a sin. Contemplating allowing, consenting to what is known as ‘gay marriages’ would be a monstrosity.”

The interview was “distorted,” Ziva Freidkes, a spokeswoman for the Madrid Jewish community, told JTA Wednesday. She said the rabbi never made the negative references to homosexuals and that the interview was “inaccurate and took things out of context.”

Religion Digital, one of the country’s major news portals on religion, released its own statement on Tuesday reaffirming the veracity of the quotes. The journalist who interviewed Bendahan, Antonio Aradillas, was described by the news portal as having “undeniable prestige and decades of experience in covering religious affairs.”

Based in Madrid, Religion Digital is run by veteran journalist Jose Manuel Vidal, with the stated mission of “publishing online quality information on religion.”

Religion Digital claims to have registered 700,000 unique users earlier this year and is ranked among Spain’s 300 most popular websites, according to the web analytics site