15-year old Yonatan Buks
Photo: Yariv Katz

Teen sues gay center for shooting

15-year old suffering from internal injuries after being shot in gay center attack demands $4 million

A 15-year old victim of the shooting that occurred at a gay community center in Tel Aviv is suing the organization that runs the center for $4 million.


Yonatan Buks sustained shots to the lower extremities of his body, which caused internal damage. He is currently undergoing rehabilitation and finds it difficult to speak. Police are still searching for the shooter, who killed two teens in the attack.  

Scene of gay center shooting (Photo: AFP)


Leaders of the Aguda for LGBT rights in Israel told Ynet Tuesday they had difficulty understanding why Buks had decided to sue them.


"We understand Yonatan and his pain. It is not easy to listen to the claim, but I don't suppose he is motivated by greed," said a member of the organization. "I believe he really fears the future and feels he needs money."


Shaul Gannon, who manages the gay youth center, says the organization lacks the funds to appease Buks. "Yonatan is very dear to us, and we understand the suit is part of the family's way of coping. This boy was abandoned by the state and needs help. I can only wish him health and love from the bottom of my heart," said Gannon.


Attorney Eitan Peleg, who represents Buks, believes other victims will soon follow suit. "I am sure (the gay center) was full of good intentions, but when you take upon yourself such a huge responsibility, replace the parents, and take a child through an activity that holds danger it is your duty to get the parents' approval," he said.


"The center functioned with an 'open door' policy, every Saturday at the same place and the same time, and without security cameras, an alarm, call buttons, or escape routes. We have all been exposed to the homophobia that runs rampant," Peleg added. "You can start by closing the door."


The attorney said he relied on the center's insurance to pay the damages Buks is demanding.


He added that the state and Tel Aviv Municipality should also bear the burden of responsibility. "The municipality never demanded a business license. If it had, it would have automatically demanded security devices," Peleg said. "The municipality permitted the place to function unsupervised."


Daniel Edelson contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 12.08.09, 13:54
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