Israeli Education Minister’s Lesbian Sister Comes to His Defense After Anti-Gay Comments

June 29, 2014 10:58 am 0 comments

Screen shot of Israel's Education Minister Shai Piron. Photo: Youtube.

The lesbian sister of Israel’s Minister of Education, Shai Piron, on Sunday defended her brother after comments he made last week saying the state should not recognize same-sex marriages, infuriating LGBT leaders.

While stressing that she doesn’t “identify” with what he said, his sister, Hagit Rimon, said “the libel against him” pains her, according to Israel’s Walla News site.

Calling Piron’s statements “a mistake,” Rimon also expressed support for her sibling, who is an ordained orthodox rabbi, and ranks second in Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s secularist Yesh Atid list.

“I wasn’t offended. I don’t get offended by general statements, and I trust his intentions,” Rimon said, stressing that “he does work for many different communities, and he is a pluralistic guy.”

Rimon, who is openly gay, and an attorney, said, “if only more rabbis were like him. He’s a man that does know how to listen to others.”

Last Thursday, Piron told a national religious magazine that “the Jewish state’s right, perhaps its duty, to say to homosexual couples that decide to live their lives that way — ‘this is not a family,’ but economic rights, a mortgage, parental rights, etc. — yes,” according to Israel Hayom.

Piron himself backed off the remarks, saying, “I am grievously convinced that such remarks are contemptible. It is not up to me to decide what is a family and what is not,” according to Channel 10 News.

Piron should “internalize the fact that among the students he is responsible for are children from different families and backgrounds,” the Israel Gay Youth Organization said in a statement, and called for him to “prove his intentions in the education system and society in general.”

Hagit Rimon, sister of Israeli Education Minister Shai Piron

Hagit Rimon, sister of Israeli Education Minister Shai Piron. Photo: Hagit Piron.

But while some LGBT groups are furious over Piron’s statements, others have been muted in their criticism, due to Piron’s acknowledged practical assistance with some of their needs.

“We are witnessing major changes over the last decade in the way society treats homosexuals and lesbians… Rabbi Piron has become one of the greatest leaders of this change,” read a statement by Hevruta, Bat Kol and Shabal, three gay and lesbian support groups.

“You can disagree with my comments,” Piron said in his defense on his Facebook page. “But it reflects the reality of the situation in Israel and the difficulties of the religious community with changes in the family structure,” according to the Times of Israel.

Piron went on to say that “Every day I try to build a bridge between different groups and communities, the first step of the bridge is to accept and understand. I apologize if my words were misunderstood and hurt [anybody].”

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Jewish Identity Sports Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    Cycling the Desert: New Israel Bike Trail Connects Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat

    As the popularity of cycling continues to increase across the world, Israel is working to develop cycling trails that make the country’s spectacular desert accessible to cyclists. The southern segment of the Israel Bike Trail was inaugurated on Feb. 24 and offers for the first time a unique, uninterrupted 8-day cycling experience after six years of planning and development. The southern section of the Israel Bike Trail stretches over 300 kilometers in length and is divided into eight segments for mountain biking, [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    Forthcoming Major Action Movies Inspired by Jewish Comic Artist Jack Kirby

    JNS.org – With the recent Oscars in the rearview mirror, Hollywood’s attention now shifts to the rest of this year’s big-screen lineup. Two of the major action films coming up in 2015—Avengers: Age of Ultron, which hits theaters in May, and the third film in the Fantastic Four series, slated for an August release—have Jewish roots that the average moviegoer might be unaware of. As it turns out, it took a tough Jewish kid from New York City’s Lower East [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    When Torah Teaches Life and Life Teaches Torah (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – Rabbi Gordon Tucker spent the first 20 years of his career teaching at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and the next 20 years as the rabbi of Temple Israel Center in White Plains, N.Y. I confess that when I heard about the order of those events, I thought that Tucker’s move from academia to the pulpit was strange. Firstly, I could not imagine anyone filling the place of my friend, Arnold Turetsky, who was such a talented [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    Oscars 2015: Reflecting on Love at First Sight

    JNS.org – I’m in love, and have been for a long time. It’s a relationship filled with laughter, tears, intrigue, and surprise. It was love at first sight, back when I was a little girl—with an extra-terrestrial that longed to go home. From then on, that love has never wavered, and isn’t reserved for one, but for oh so many—Ferris Bueller, Annie Hall, Tootsie, Harry and Sally, Marty McFly, Atticus Finch, Danny Zuko, Yentl, that little dog Toto, Mrs. Doubtfire, [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    Examining America’s First Foray into the Middle East (REVIEW)

    At the turn of the 21st century through today, American involvement in Middle Eastern politics runs through the Central Intelligence Agency. In America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East, historian Hugh Wilford shows this has always been the case. Wilford methodically traces the lives and work of the agency’s three most prominent officers in the Middle East: Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt was the grandson of president Theodore Roosevelt, and the first head of [...]

    Read more →
  • Relationships US & Canada Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Seniors at Los Angeles Jewish Home Give Witty Dating Advice Ahead of Valentine’s Day (VIDEO)

    Residents of the Los Angeles Jewish Home give dating advice to a young Jewish man in a comedic video posted Monday on YouTube just in time for Valentine’s Day. Jonathan, an associate at the Jewish home, quizzes the senior citizens on an array of topics including having sex on the first date, kissing a girl, who should pay for dinner and whether online dating is a good idea. When the 28-year-old asks a male resident named Lee about his experiences [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Kutsher’s Documentary an Amazing, and Tragic, Look at the Past (REVIEW)

    Anyone who spent time in the Jewish Catskills hotels – especially those like me, who returned for decades – must see the new documentary,”Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort.” Not only will the film transport you back to the glory days of your youth and thousands of memories, but it will also make you long for a world that is now lost forever. I returned to Kutsher’s one last time in the summer of 2009, but by then, the [...]

    Read more →
  • Education Jewish Identity Lifestyle Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    Riding the Wave of Change in Part-Time Jewish Education

    JNS.org – Amid the numerous studies and analyses regarding Jewish American life, a simple fact remains: part-time Jewish education is the most popular vehicle for Jewish education in North America. Whenever and wherever parents choose Jewish education for their children, we have a communal responsibility to devote the necessary time and resources to deliver dynamic, effective learning experiences. The only way we can do this is by creating space for conversations and knowledge-sharing around innovative new education models. That also [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.