Aryeh Stern, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Jerusalem, has called on city leaders to prohibit the flying of the rainbow flag as part of a coming Pride parade.
The Israeli city’s religious leader acknowledged in a letter to Mayor Moshe Lion that Jerusalem cannot stop a parade from taking place, according to The Times of Israel. But he still voiced a years-long objection from leaders about the presence of the flags.
“I trust you to act wisely and spare us this embarrassment,” Stern wrote.
The Times reports that in past years, ultra-Orthodox members of the Jerusalem Council objected to the flying of the LGBTQ symbol next to the Jerusalem Great Synagogue. The Pride parade passes by that landmark.
Jerusalem figures confirm the flag will be flown, as in previous years, despite the objection of religious leaders.
It’s not the first time Stern has voiced objections to the existence of LGBTQ people in Israel. Last year, he opposed legislation allowing surrogacy for gay men, according to The Jerusalem Post. At that time, he said children with same-sex parents would live a “very strange and unnatural life.”
Stern’s new call for the Pride flag to be banned drew rebuke from Israel’s LGBTQ community.
Idan Roll, an out member of the Knesset, went so far as to call for Stern’s dismissal, according to the Times.
“There is no place in public service for a person with such unenlightened and offensive views,” Roll said.