Political pressures have apparently worked: Ynet has learned that WorldPride 2006, the global gay pride parade, which was scheduled to be held next month in Jerusalem, is expected to move to Tel Aviv at the last moment.
Police officials confirmed that this was the apparent situation, but that a final decision has not yet been made.
Officially, sources at the police explained that the reason for moving the parade is the Jerusalem Police's fear in light of the event's size and complexity, which will make it difficult to secure it.
"Tel Aviv is more used to such events, and therefore it should take place there also this time," a police official said.
However, Israel's capital deals with complex local and international events on a weekly basis, so it appears that the reason for the change – if it indeed takes place – is more complicated.
Behind the scenes, politicians, public figures and rabbis worked against the parade. Even the pope got involved in the affair, following a letter sent to him by Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar. Now it appears that the parade's opposers were also backed by Justice Minister Haim Ramon.
Ynet has learned that on Wednesday, Ramon met with Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai (Shas), who told Ramon that "indeed there is an issue of freedom of expression, but on the other hand there is also the public's benefit."
According to Yishai, the justice minister replied that there is a legal problem with completely cancelling the parade, but he definitely supported the idea to remove it from Jerusalem "for the benefit of the public and because leaders of the three religions are against it."
“This is not just about the parade, but a week of events with a Jerusalem theme to it,” the Open House organization said in a statement. “The right to hold the Gay Pride parade and events was given to us by Israeli law and by the freedom of speech it grants us. As far as we know, neither Shas not the Justice minister are above the law.”
Police officials said a final decision on the matter has not been reached as of yet, but added that should an official request be submitted to hold the parade in Tel Aviv, ‘it would make it easier on the police to authorize it.’
Efrat Weiss contributed to the report