An Israeli rabbi has called on a local mayor to ban LGBTQ+ teachers and lecturers from working in Rishon LeZion. 

According to a report from the Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Aryeh Cohen sent a letter to mayor Raz Kinstlich condemning the inclusion of LGBTQ+ teaching professionals. 

The letter was originally published online by the LGBTQ+ group Israeli Gay Youth.

“I will not give you the permission and possibility to turn our city into Sodom and Gomorrah,” he wrote. 

Cohen’s letter also complained about the school curriculum, specifically the inclusion of lectures surrounding same-sex households and parenting. 

In response to his anti-LGBTQ+ complaints, Kinstlich released a statement shooting down the rabbi’s comments and said Rishon LeZion is a “pluralistic city”.

“We are shocked that there are those who choose to spread such blatant, free hatred – even more so in 2021,” the mayor said.

“Rishon Lezion is a pluralistic city that respects and contains all its residents. We will continue to support all communities – secular, religious and LGBT - and our schools will continue to teach Bible lessons alongside lessons on gender and acceptance of the other.

“This proposal is intended to provoke provocations and divide solely for political purposes.”

Cohen is currently a chairman of the conservative regional Shas Party.

Meirav Cohen, who is the social equality and pension minister, agreed with Kinstlich.

“In the last budget, the Ministry of Social Equality increased sixfold the amount allocated to strengthening and promoting LGBT communities throughout the country, to about NIS 90 million for the next three years, so that every young man and woman from the LGBT community will know that they have an equal place in society,” he said. 

This isn’t the first time that the two political figures have exchanged words regarding LGBTQ+ support.

Earlier this year, Kinstlich took away Cohen’s deputy mayor privileges after the latter was accused of misconduct at one of his kindergartens. 

In response to his demotion, Cohen accused the mayor of desecrating Sabbath due to his “insane” support of the queer community. 

“Raz is leading mass desecration of Sabbath in the city, including public transportation on the Sabbath, insane support for LGBT people and more.”