Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski
Photo: Reuters
Gay Pride Parade 2005
Photo: Reuters

J'lem mayor: Gay parade a provocation

City Council holds stormy session after council member asks to prepare capital for parade; Meretz member accuses Mayor Uri Lupolianski of incitement that led to violent incidents during last year's parade

An exceptionally stormy meeting of the Jerusalem City Council was held Thursday following a proposal to prepare for the Gay Pride Parade which will be held in the city in August.


Saar Ran-Netanel, a council member of the Meretz leftist faction, asked how the municipality was preparing for the event, fueling the ire of ultra-Orthodox council members.


A week ago, the Union for Homosexuals and Lesbians in Israel canceled planned gay pride parades in Tel Aviv and Haifa and announced that the event will take place in Jerusalem.


The meeting was attended by members of the Open House organization for homosexuals and lesbians. The meeting was attended by David Russo, who was stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man, Yishai Schlissel, during last year's parade in the capital.


Schlissel was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Ran-Netanel asked Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski: "At least have the basic compassion to look him in the eyes."


Russo stood up but Lupolianski ignored him. "You are afraid of me," Russo told him.


Referring the proposal to prepare for the event, Lupolianski said: "This is a city whose essence and problems we all know. We know that provocation has a high cost here. Last year we suggested replacements and tried to speak. Unfortunately, there are provocateurs whose mission it is to set off riots."


Ran-Netanel accused Lupolianski of having incited against gays which led to the stabbing attack last year.


Lupolianski replied: "I warned against this, and there are always light-headed people. There were talks but there were some who didn't want to listen (referring to gay representatives)."


Proposal to hold Parade in east Jerusalem


Deputy Mayor Eli Simchayof suggested the parade be held in east Jerusalem.


"Even in Tel Aviv they canceled, because they know no one will attend," he said.


Shas representative Yair Lari said: "It seems there will be a majority to hold the parade in east Jerusalem and we will see what they will do to them."


Lupolianski jokingly told an ultra-Orthodox council member as he walked near Netanel, an open homosexual, to "be wary of him as you pass there." The remark drew laughter from most council members.


Lupolianski proposed the plan be dropped from the municipality's agenda, drawing the support of 17 members against 3 who voiced opposition.


Open House CEO Hagai Elad said: "It seems Lupolianski learnt nothing. Last year, on the eve of the parade, Lupolianski sowed wind and reaped a whirlwind. It is a shame that a bunch of small politicians are managing Jerusalem's affairs against the city's best interests, while fanning racism and discrimination."


פרסום ראשון: 05.04.06, 23:29
 new comment
This will delete your current comment