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Arcadi Gaydamak
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Photo: Uriel Herschko
Sa'ar Netanel
Photo: Uriel Herschko
Gaydamak: I'd die before allowing pride parade in Jerusalem
Israeli-Russian businessman explains homosexuals cannot march on streets of holy city. 'The streets of Jerusalem are a symbol, and parading on them is an aggressive act against tradition,' he says
Jerusalem mayoral candidate, Israeli-Russian businessman Arcadi Gaydamak, is determined to cancel the annual gay pride parade in the capital.

 

"When I'm elected mayor, I would die before allowing the pride parade to be held in Jerusalem," he said Monday during a conference held by the Bikur Holim hospital owned by him.

 

Jerusalem is a city holy to the three main religions, he explained, and therefore it is unsuitable for a pride parade.

 

"They want to be proud? They're allowed to. They want to demonstrate? Fine. But the streets of Jerusalem are a symbol, and parading on them would be an aggressive act against our tradition, against our values and against our morale. I would lie on the ground in order to block the march and would even die before I approve the pride parade in the city."

 

Addressing the fact that the pride parade was eventually held in the capital in recent years despite the fact that the current mayor is an ultra-Orthodox man, Gaydamak stated that "(Mayor Uri) Lupolianski) acted like a politician rather than like a human being. His image was more important to him than the city's tradition."

 

As for the unflattering public opinion polls, the businessman said, "First of all, polls are political means, artificial tools used by the candidates to influence their candidacy. The questions asked were directed, and they did not refer to me. I will be judged according to my action rather than by artificial tools or foolish surveys."

 

'Freedom of speech cannot be bought'

He did not forget to mention the two leading candidates for mayor, Jerusalem Council Member Nir Barkat and Knesset Member Meir Porush.

 

"What have Barkat and Porush done? They talk nicely, but what have they done for the city in practice. People like Porush's shterimel (fur hat worn by Hasidic Jews) and Barkat's tie, but I am the one who invested in hospitals, synagogues and Beitar Jerusalem (football club) and invested my time and money in the city."

 

He stressed that he has no plans to quit the mayoral race. "It’s not a sport or an artificial activity for me. This is my destination. I will be mayor. This will be the Jerusalemites' choice," he promised.

 

Jerusalem Council Member Sa'ar Netanel (Meretz), a representative of the homosexual community, said in response, "Although Mr. Gaydamak finds it difficult to understand the meaning of the rule of law, he should be reminded that Jerusalem is still part of the State of Israel, and thus even if he lies on the road till the next pride parade, it won't do him any good and the march will take place.

 

"He should also know that contrary to other things, freedom of speech and the marchers cannot be bought with money. I understand that he has launched his campaign and is wooing the haredim, but it's a shame that as part of the campaign he sells the rights of Jerusalem's free public."

 

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