Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Nearly a year after the massacre in the Tel Aviv gay youth center, a memorial is held as part of the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade in the Rose Garden adjacent to the Knesset building on Thursday with some 3,000 people in attendance.
Ayala Katz, gay youth center murder victim Nir Katz, said, "On August 1 a year ago, my son was murdered. We don't know who did it to this day. The incident brought up the whole issue of homophobia, of hatred and the shameful treatment of the gay community."
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"From the moment the murder was carried out, we decided to focus on what Nir was in his life, not just in his death – in his love, his giving, his doing for others. We are all human beings, regardless of our sexual or gender orientation. With all the emotion of being here and the sadness and longings for Nir, I have great optimism within me that it will be possible to speak with everyone. Only dialogue will bring all of us as the Israeli society to a different place," she continued.
Chen Langer, who was wounded in the Tel Aviv attack, said, "The last time I spoke with you was from a wheelchair. It is important to tell what happened on August 1 and make sure it doesn't happen again. I want a different future so that we can live as we are, marry whomever we'd like, to love and be loved.
"This evening is an indication that we are ready for all the promises we received, so that there will be fewer and fewer black flags alongside the pride flags that are here today. Even today there are things that ministers in the cabinet say that send shudders through my body. We must make the future different, so that something good comes out of that horrible evening, so that it isn't for naught."
'Created in God's image'Former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg also spoke at the rally. "Homophobia is everywhere. There is religious homophobia that gleans its hatred from the Torah giving at Mount Sinai, on the revelation on high as if they were commanded to hate and to purge out the part of us created in the image of God, who also created the gay person, the lesbian, the transgender. Whoever denies this, in essence, denies God," Burg said.
"I would like to send a message within the synagogues. Don't wait for your child to come out of the closet to stop hating. Start loving him or her starting today. This is the Torah while standing on one foot."
This year's parade was again shrouded in controversy, with participants facing three separate anti-gay protests.
One was organized by rightists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir in Paris Square near Independence Park. Dozens of people joined the protest, holding up signs reading: "Sick perverts, get out of Jerusalem."
Speaking at the site, Marzel told Ynet that homosexuality is a "voluntary disease."
"People aren't born with it. Just like someone has AIDS and is being asked not to pass it on to others. They are trying to pass it on to others. This ruins the whole Western world," he said.
Later, police detained three far Right female activists near Independence Park in possession of eggs, which they apparently intended to hurl at parade marchers. The three females were held for questioning.
Some 30 ultra-Orthodox pretested on Jerusalem's Shivtei Yisrael Street against the gay march in the city. The demonstrators threw stones at police officers, one of whom was lightly injured.
A teenager was arrested for allegedly trying to block traffic with a garbage bin.
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