Jerusalem will allow homophobic billboards after intervention from Israel’s attorney general

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Jerusalem will permit an anti-gay group to put up public billboards after a decision to block them was challenged by Israel’s attorney general.

Ahead of the city’s Pride celebrations in June 2019, the city of Jerusalem ordered the removal of the signs put up by conservative Jewish group Hazon.

The billboards bearing the messages “A father and a mother = a family. The courage to be normal” were removed because the city said they “could offend a section of Jerusalem’s public”.

Jerusalem ‘exceeded authority’ by banning anti-gay billboards, says attorney general.

However, Israel’s attorney general Avichai Mandelblit has said that the city overstepped its bounds by pulling them down.

According to Haaretz, Mandelblit wrote: “A municipality’s authority to limit signs in its jurisdiction on the ground that they offend public sensibilities should be limited to very exceptional cases, when the insult is extreme and more than is tolerable in a democratic society.

“The consideration of harm done to public sentiment was unjustified in these circumstances.”

He added that the signs constituted a legitimate “expression of opposition to statements made during this [Pride] event”.

Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said Jerusalem had overstepped its authority

Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said Jerusalem had overstepped its authority (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

The city has accepted the attorney general’s decision, but said it would review each future dispute on a case-by-case basis.

City legal counsel Eli Malka said: “The city is aware of the right to freedom of expression but believes that under some circumstances and in light of past experience it had the right to deny posting such signs on the eve of the parade.”

Group put up anti-LGBT+ ads across Israel.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Hazon has conducted a big-budget advertising push in the country to entrench its anti-LGBT messages.

The outlet reports that the ” aggressive social media, digital, and paper-media effort” includes ads on Facebook that targets political leaders with the message: “Maybe all of them don’t have the courage to say it. That’s why we’re here. A father and a mother = a family.”

An SMS campaign was also launched as part of an apparent effort to build a supporters’ database, asking people to take part in a “survey” about whether “a father and a father are a normal family”.