Ariel Ben David, spiritual leader of Maayan Eilat Messianic Congregation in the country’s southernmost resort town of Eilat has taken on the fight against coordinated plans by the town’s municipality to introduce homosexual studies as part of next year’s local high school curriculum.
Ben David, who immigrated from Belarus some 16 years ago with his wife and then two small children, enjoyed life in this quiet tourist city, working as a graphic artist for the local newspaper called, “Yom Yom,” whose boss happened to be homosexual but who, nonetheless, never pushed a personal agenda on staff or residents. It was during this time that Ben David also began a small congregation of Messianic believers which today has grown to over 70 people.
So it took a few years before things began to change. It wasn’t until after the Eilat elections over a year and a half ago that Ariel began to notice certain modifications in the relatively small municipality which has about 20 city council members. If you ask him, he believes that it all began with the hiring of two activist lesbians whose aspirations included making the city of Eilat the new bastion of homosexuality which, in their minds, would put it on the map as the new progressive and enlightened locale with in the Jewish state. Their reforms included introducing homosexual studies into the local secular high school which had already seen, over the past year, the interruption of regularly scheduled classes being pre-empted by guest speakers from the Eilat LGBTQ community whose goal was to deliver their message of the need for inclusion and acceptance of their lifestyle to the impressionable teenage students. It should be noted that this was spontaneous and, therefore executed without the knowledge of parents, some of whom would, undoubtedly, have chosen for their children not to be present.
Ben David, having heard of what he thought were a few solitary incidents was clearly opposed, but since he believed that such visits would not continue, he never intervened to formally oppose the audacious and unsolicited class forum. However, once it became publicly known that these visits would now be expanding into part of the weekly curriculum, that simply became a bridge too far for Ben David and his wife.
Eilat’s mayor, Meir Yitzhak Levi, along with City Council members, put out a statement “which pledges to work for each and every LGBTQ community in Eilat to live in security, liberty and equality and promote values of tolerance, acceptance and equality as well as businesses providing equal services.” (Yom Yom, 1/10/21)
Yet, if you ask Ariel Ben David who has lived in the city for nearly two decades, he is unaware of any member of the LGBTQ community being denied equal services by local businesses or incidents where these individuals were not given liberty, security or whose rights were trampled on by intolerance. So even though the rights, which claim they are seeking, have always existed, there seems to be a need to bang their drum loudly as if to ensure that this is lodged in perpetuity.
Ben David, in response, immediately drew up a petition and has already gotten 70 signatures of those who are equally opposed to the unwelcomed course which has not received the approval of any parent nor was even proposed to them in order to get feedback or comment. Ben David has written a letter to the principal of the school requesting that this course not be allowed or, at least, suggesting that students be permitted to opt out of the course on the justified grounds of different religious and moral standards which he believes should not be ignored.
Surprisingly, after requesting that his former boss print an article in the local newspaper, stating his personal objections, he agreed to print an article containing the facts about the planned course as well as the subsequent petition which was being circulated.
Ironically, it was through Facebook that the course plans were announced, and it is also through Facebook that the petition objecting to the course is also being advertised and circulated.
Unlike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem which have seen Gay Pride Parades for many years, much to the dismay of some residents, it should be noted that this has not taken place in Eilat with the exception of one time many years ago. This is, undoubtedly, on the agenda of the municipal workers who likely see, amongst their main objectives, to facilitate the city becoming a visible and active force for the LGBTQ community, an act which will certainly change the character of the city.
If Ben David, along with concerned congregants and objecting parents from his daughter’s high school does not prevail, he intends to bring this fight to the court system which will, certainly be costly.
We hope to keep you informed as to his progress, but, at the moment, Ariel Ben David has no intention to back down, saying he will take this fight as far as it needs to go, because there cannot be an attempt to supersede the authority of parental values which only they should choose for their children. This is, after all, their right in, of all places, the Holy Land!