Turkish Jewish leader denies snubbing gay Israeli envoy
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Turkish Jewish leader denies snubbing gay Israeli envoy

Ishak Ibrahim Zadeh rebukes claims made by Israel’s consul in Istanbul, Yossi Levi Sfari

Yosef Levi Sfari claimed he was being shunned by Jewish leaders in Turkey due to his homosexuality
Yosef Levi Sfari claimed he was being shunned by Jewish leaders in Turkey due to his homosexuality

Leaders of the Jewish community of Turkey have denied complaints made by an Israeli homosexual diplomat, who said he’s being ignored due to his sexual orientation.

Ishak Ibrahim Zadeh, the president of the Jewish Community of Turkey, responded in a statement to the complaints leveled at him by Yossi Levi Sfari, Israel’s consul in Istanbul, who moved there with his life partner, Ronny Goldberg, six weeks ago. Sfari said the community failed to invite him to events and does not acknowledge his presence in synagogue.

“We treat the consulate and consul with the utmost respect and do not involve ourselves in anyone’s personal life,” Ibrahim Zadeh was quoted as saying by the Finansgundem daily. “We respect all in the same way that we expect them to respect us as a community that is committed to Halacha and the rules of the Torah. We have nothing against the man or Israel and its envoys, whom we will continue to respect as we maintain good relations with Israel. I do no need to be a close personal friend of the man.”

Ishak Ibrahim Zadeh’s statement follows an article published Thursday in Yedioth Aharonoth in which Levi Sfari complained that the community is giving him the cold shoulder, including by not inviting him to read the Torah as is customary in services attended by a senior Israeli envoy. He also said the community have invited Israel’s ambassador in Ankara to attend events in Levi Sfari’s stead.

According to Yedioth Aharonoth, the community urged the foreign ministry to not post a homosexual man to Turkey when Levi Sfari’s nomination was announced but not yet confirmed.

The daily also reported, quoting unnamed sources, that the foreign ministry instructed its employees to sever communications with Ibrahim Zadeh over his alleged treatment of Levi Sfari.

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