Photo: AFP
Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen
Photo: Ofer Amram
Peres to address pro-gay rally
Gay community rep says upcoming demonstration in Tel Aviv 'climax' of educational process in aftermath of deadly shooting at gay center; ministers Sa'ar, Livnat also expected to attend; 'we won’t go back in the closet,' he adds

President Shimon Peres confirmed that he will address Saturday evening's rally in support of the gay and lesbian community, according to the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association (GLBT).


Culture Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) and Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) are also expected to attend the demonstration, which will be held at Tel Aviv's Rabin a week after an unknown assailant opened fire at the Bar Hanoar gay youth center in Tel Aviv, killing two people and wounding several others.


The shooter is still at large.


A host of artists, including Rita, Ninet Tayeb and Dana International are scheduled to perform.


GLBT spokesman Itzik Srur told Ynet Thursday that the participation of Peres and the ministers will give the rally a "national" dimension, adding, "We are proud that the people of Israel support the gay community and are coming to sympathize with us. The rally is the climax of the process in which we are educating Israelis about the gay community.


"We won’t go back in the closet, we'll help our youths; we are not afraid. The bullets fired Saturday will not kill us," he said.


Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the site of the deadly shooting and expressed his support for the shocked gay community.


Netanyahu (L) with GBLT head Mile Hamel (Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO)


The 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, he said.


Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen, who accompanied Netanyahu said, "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," he said. 


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