Three major Christian organizations based in Jerusalem issued a statement condemning the World Pride gay parade planned for the city in August.
” We do so out of our great love and respect for Jerusalem, the only city in the world that the Bible decrees as holy," read a statement signed by the Bridges For Peace, Christian Friends of Israel and the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem.
The statement argued that organizers have planned the event in Jerusalem to provoke "those of biblical faith" and not because of the city's importance to the gay and lesbian community.
"The decision to hold this event in Jerusalem can only be seen as a calculated and confrontational act meant to provoke and offend those who adhere to timeless, biblical moral standards in the very place they hold most dear," the statement said.
It continued: "We stand in solidarity with the clear majority of Jerusalem residents who oppose this degradation of their city, and we urge the proper national and local authorities to reconsider the decision to allow the event to take place."
Jews, Arabs against parade
Meanwhile, earlier in the week leading American Rabbi Yehuda Levin organized a Jerusalem conference attended by both Jewish and Arab religious leaders who expressed their staunch objection to holding the Gay Pride Parade in the capital.
Among the participants were Arab-Israeli sheik and MK Ibrahim Sarsur, Tekoa Rabbi Menachem Froman and Arab MK Abas Zkoor.
The two leading Palestinian religious leaders, Sheikh Taysir al-Tamimi and Sheikh Hamad Bitawi, were denied entry to Israel but phoned in their objection to holding the event in Jerusalem.
During the conference Sarsur said “if they (gays) will dare to approach the Temple Mount during the parade – they will do so over our dead bodies,” adding that “the Gay Pride Parade is an attack on Jerusalem that aims to damage the Islamic identity of young Arabs in the city.”
“This attack is more venomous than the Zionist attack to make Jerusalem Jewish,” he said.
Noa Sattath, chairperson of the Jerusalem Open House, the organizer of Jerusalem WorldPride said: “The WorldPride events will take place in Jerusalem because we believe that Jerusalem should be a center of tolerance, pluralism and humanity. Unfortunately, there are those who prefer Jerusalem to be fanatical, dark, pursuing strife and hatred.”
The Reverend Dr. Mel White, founder of SoulForcegay rights group, said, “World Pride in Jerusalem, 2006, has become a symbol of hope