Site of the attack
Photo: AP
Prime Minister Netanyahu
Photo: AP

Netanyahu visits Tel Aviv gay center

Prime Minister visits site of Saturday's deadly attack, speaks with representatives of Israel's gay community. Members present Netanyahu with letter describing 'daily verbal, physical violence', say incitement comes from Knesset members, ministers as well

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday visited the Tel Aviv gay youth center which was the site of the deadly shooting attack last Saturday, in which 26-year-old Nir Katz and 17-year-old Liz Trubeshi were killed. Ten others were injured.


Netanyahu heard from representatives of the community accusations of incitement from ministers and MKs from within his government and he expressed his support of the community.


Head of Israel's youth Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association, Yaniv Weizman said at the end of the meeting, "Things have changed. The prime minister has expressed his support. The prime minister's message is very clear, a message of support of the community.


"We expect a ministerial committee, full equal rights for the community, and that our relationships are not outlawed. Another thing is education, education, education, curbing homophobia, and the third thing is the whole matter of incitement.


"It can't be that within the Netanyahu government, there are ministers and Knesset members that speak out against the community. We have asked the prime minister to label this incident as a terror attack. It was a very positive meeting, the prime minister expressed his full support."


During the visit, representatives of the gay and lesbian community presented a letter to the PM saying, "We, the members of the gay and lesbian community experience verbal and physical violence every single day within the family, in schools and in workplaces.


"Severe incitement is voiced from many sources, including Knesset members and ministers in your government. (The shooting attack) is the most serious incident the gay community has experienced since the establishment of the State. The day after this horrendous murder is not the same as the days before. Woe to us if the blood of those killed an injured was spilled in vain."


Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen and Tel Aviv district commander, Major-General Shahar Ayalon accompanied the PM on his visit.


The police commission said after the meeting, "We must be patient and should not be hasty. This is one of the most serious incidents of the past 30 years, since I have been on the force.


"The prime minister's visit here will illustrate the importance of the matter. Again, we must take care not to label groups, I ask all of you to be patient. This incident has been made a national priority."


Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said, "This city has done so much to ensure that every person feels safe in it… I hope the police get to the bottom of this and find the killer."


The visit was held under tight security, and police have closed off a number of roads in the area and have banned journalists from attending.


The deadly attack continues to make waves around the world, and on Wednesday a vigil was held for the victims in Boston by local Jewish organizations.


Also Wednesday, some 1,500 people demonstrated in Berlin, Germany, in support of the Israeli GLBT community.


Meanwhile, police continue in their efforts to locate the murderer, and have written in online gay community forums asking the public for any piece of relevant information to help in their investigation.


פרסום ראשון: 08.06.09, 10:07
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