Thousands of LGBTQ+ Israelis received text messages to ‘repent’ or face ‘death’
Sad gay man (Shutterstock)

The Jerusalem Post has reported that thousands of LGBTQ+ Israelis received text messages saying they "deserve severe punishment, death and deportation" and calling on them to "repent." The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel confirmed the news Monday.

"You are LGBT and an apostate. You deserve severe punishment, death and deportation from Israel," the message read. "Come to Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan in order to repent. We would be glad if you undergo conversion to faith."

According to The Jerusalem Post, "The message included a phone number and a Telegram account to contact and stated that it was sent by Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Hadash, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ohr Elhanan. The rabbi has denied that he has any connection to the message, saying he has never talked about the issue and the issue is not addressed in his yeshiva."

The Agudah and the Havruta organization for LGBTQ+ religious Jewish men invited Hadash to a dialogue with the LGBTQ+ religious Jewish community. They also called in a letter for Hadash to publish a public condemnation of the messages sent in his name and to "prevent the further great desecration of God that has already been done." The director-general of the Israel Internet Association, Yoram Hacohen, called for police to investigate whether the person who sent the text used data from the Black Shadow attack, adding that "Since these are text messages, it is possible to find out their source and take criminal action against the perpetrators...These are, on the face of it, elements who have grossly violated the Privacy Protection Law - I call on Israel Police to act immediately to locate the perpetrators. They have the tools to do that." This latest incident comes just days after a seminar hosted by the 105 hotline for the protection of children online concerning harm against LGBTQ+ youth online.