GLBT rally organizers get phone threats
Two coordinators responsible for transportation to ceremony honoring victims of shooting attack on Tel Aviv gay youth center say get threatening phone calls by anonymous persons saying they will bring grenades to event. Meanwhile, Jerusalem Police arrest haredi soldier suspected of making threat in online gay forums
Anonymous persons on Saturday threatened organizers of rides to a Tel Aviv ceremony honoring the victims of last week's GLBT center shooting, that left two dead.
Two organizers of transportation from Haifa and Beersheba said they received threatening phone calls in which the callers said they would arrive at the pickup points with grenades in order to harm the participants.
Following the threats, police have decided to deploy squad cars to the pickup points.
Gal, who is responsible for the ride leaving from Haifa, told Ynet: "A guy that sounded older called me on my cell phone. He asked for details about the ride. When I asked for his name, he said he was 'the one with the grenade' and said that we would get grenades during today's rally as well."
Lighting candles in memory of victims (Photo: George Ginsberg)
Gal notified the Haifa Police after the phone call. Haifa Police Commander Ahuva Tomer decided not to take any chances and sent a squad car to the pickup point.
Shai Gutler, the organizer of the ride from Beersheba, said that at 2:20 pm he received a call from a man who asked him where transportation would be leaving from.
"I asked him if he had registered and he said no. So I asked him if he would like to come, he said he would like to and that he will show up with grenades and throw them at us. I asked for his name, he gave a name and then hung up," he said.
'This proves hate still exists'Despite the threats, Gutler is not afraid of attending the rally. "I want as many people as possible to show up to the rally to put an end to the violence in this country. I am sure it will help. I’m not afraid. We are a strong community."
Barak Atar, a coordinator of the GLBT community in Beersheba told Ynet he also received threats: "We took the threats very seriously and we filed a complaint with the police. This proves that the hate still exists.
"It is society's role to eliminate this hate, to diagnose it and treat it and not allow it to exist. We are not afraid, but are alert and organized. The Israel Police have taken our complaint seriously, but these things must not be taken lightly."
Meanwhile, Jerusalem Police arrested a 20-year-old resident suspected of making online threats against the rally's participants.
A search of the suspect's home revealed a weapon, and police said the suspect, who serves in the Nahal Haredi Battalion, confessed to his actions in his initial investigation and was transferred for further questioning.
The suspect allegedly wrote in online gay forums: "Expect another hit to the gays soon, this time, something bigger" and, "A second blow to the community soon. Be prepared. Don't say 'We didn't know'."
Ahead of the event in Rabin Square in central Tel Aviv, police have announced that the surrounding streets will be closed off to traffic from 7 pm.
A number of Israeli artists will perform at the rally, and President Shimon Peres is slated to give a speech.
Sharon Roffe – Ofir and Efrat Weiss contributed to this report