Members of Hadash party's "Red-Pink Patrol" hung placards overnight Tuesday on the homes of Knesset members Eli Gabbay (National Union-NR) and Nissim Zeev (Shas) in protest of a proposal banning gay pride parades in Jerusalem.
"In this house lives an MK who is trying to outlaw the citizens' right to march and protest on the streets of Jerusalem," one of the posters read. "This anti-democratic bill is targeting not only the homosexual, lesbian, transgender and bisexual communities, but also human and civil rights in general.
The proposed amendment to Basic Law: Jerusalem, would enable the Jerusalem Municipal Council to ban gay parades and rallies for considerations of disturbance to public order, offending the public's sensitivities or for religious considerations.
Yaniv Rosner, a member of Hadash's "Red-Pink Forum," said MKs Gabbay and Zeev "are attempting to create a situation whereby an entire community is denied its right to protest in Jerusalem.
"There is no precedent to such legislation," he said, "this is way past being only about the gay community; it is a question of whether the right to protest is a basic, democratic right in Israel."
'Legislation inherently damaging'
During a heated Knesset debate Sunday, MK Zeev claimed that the proposed legislation was aimed at assisting homosexuals and lesbians who want to start a family.
He said that if it was up to him he would put gays in rehabilitation centers "along with drug addicts and alcoholics".
Zeev went as far as comparing the gay movement to a "plague that may destroy Jewish Israel", adding that this "plague" should be dealt with "just as the Health Ministry is dealing with bird flu."
Professor Mordechai Kremnitzer, a law professor who took part in this debate, preferred to focus on the core legal issues at hand. “The true test of freedom of expression is the actual expression at hand and whether is offensive at the deepest levels,” he told the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.
The professor therefore pointed out that “this type of legislation is acceptable if we want to turn Jerusalem into another Teheran, not if it is the capital of secular Jews as well.”
MK Yitzhak Levy of the National Religious Party pointed out, conversely, that even Israeli police forces do not allow all worshipers to enter the Temple Mount for prayers.
Kremnitzer categorically rejected this analogy, saying there was a big difference between maintaining law and order and preventing certain elements from rioting to instituting legislation that "stands against everything that a democratic, Jewish state ought to be.
“This legislation is inherently damaging. If freedom of expression is impinged upon, Israel will cease to be a democracy,” said the professor.