Yar Cherki leads the portfolio of religious themes for Channel 12, Israel’s most viewed news station. Yair Cherki, an orthodox religious man, comes out of the closet in a Facebook post. “I like males, and I like God,” he writes. It is not a contradiction.”
Yar Cherki was raised in an Orthodox religious community in Jerusalem, where his father is a rabbi. During his national duty, Cherki worked as a religious affairs correspondent for Army Radio. Soon after, he accepted the same position with the popular Israeli news station Channel 12.
Long wore Cherki peies (or pejot, pe’ot, payot), the long curls that wear ultra-Orthodox curls down their face in front of their ears. He recently cut it off. On Facebook, he writes this week: “I’m shaking as I write this down”, after which he says that he had already postponed his coming out several times.
He further writes: “But now I am thirty years old, and I do not write because I have the strength to write. I write because I no longer have the strength to remain silent. But I am also writing it down for my son, who has not yet come into this world.”
LIVING IN THE SHADOWS
Cherki goes on to explain that he chose to go public with something he considers a “private matter” because he doesn’t want to “live in the shadows” and “come home to his family and live in the truth.”
Further, Cherki writes that he recognizes the apparent conflict between his sexuality and his religious beliefs, saying, “I try to reconcile this contradiction within myself in many ways.”
NOT A TREND OR POLITICAL STATEMENT
To those who doubt his intentions, Cherki writes: “This is not a trend or a political statement. It’s just who I am. I don’t know if I would call it an identity. It’s just an element of who I am and who I’ve always been.”
Cherki says he still feels part of the national religious community in which he grew up and his beliefs have not changed: “They have taken shape over the years alongside the doubts. My coming-out does, however, require a different view of faith, truth and complexity.”
Finally, Cherki hopes for understanding for his decision to come out. “I know that I have made people dear to me sad. I hope everyone can still give this a place. Your sadness may also stem from a lack of understanding of what I am really talking about here.”
He adds that his decision did not come from a losing battle with his desires. Cherki shares that he has spent years trying to ignore, push away and even treat his sexuality. “I don’t regret all those efforts, because without them I might not have come to the conclusion I have reached now.
He regrets most of the time it took him to come to this understanding of himself. “I like men and I like God. And that is not contradictory.”