Thousands of Israelis support LGBT rights in Jerusalem, Israel, on August 1, 2015. This year's parade is scheduled for Thursday. File Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI | License Photo
Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Israeli Rabbi Yigal Levinstein, the founder of a West Bank pre-military academy, has sparked controversy by calling for demonstrations against this week's LGBT Gay Pride parade.
The rabbi has condemned LGBT lifestyles and said they threaten the character of the Jewish state. In an article Tuesday, Levinstein called for demonstrations at what he called the "gender disorientation parade" in Jerusalem this week.
"There is a small but vocal and verbally-violent minority that calls itself 'the LGBT organization', which encourages deviation and distorting sexual orientation," Levinstein wrote. "It works in every way trying to bring an entire country to recognize by law male relations -- abominable relations -- as a legitimate family.
"As if this wasn't enough, they also demand that male couples be allowed to bring children into the world and raise them in a reality of moral distortion."
Levinstein said the gay community is confused by the Western world's acceptance of LGBT families, who should instead be taught the sanctity of marriage and family through the Torah.
"I empathize with them and understand the pain and difficulty of those with opposite sexual tendencies, but we cannot remain blind to the moral decay of gay sex," he added. "And we certainly will not give in to the overwhelming verbal violence against anyone who disagrees with them."
In response, dozens of Orthodox rabbis wrote a letter calling for people to support the LGBT community.
"Undermining of the group's legitimacy is essentially laying the ground for terrible, verbal and physical violence that the group has to suffer on a daily basis," the letter read, which was signed by 60 rabbis.
The letter recalled the 2015 Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, where an extremist attacked attendees with a knife. A 16-year-old boy died.
"Three years ago, we saw where this type of discourse leads, when innocent blood was spilled in the streets of Jerusalem," the rabbis wrote.
"There are issues that are simple and clear. The use of offensive and insulting language such as 'perverts' towards people created in God's image is unacceptable and dangerous."
The parade is scheduled for Thursday.