Four thousand people marched in the 10th annual Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade in
the capital on Thursday, waving rainbow flags of all shapes and sizes in the
nonviolent protest. In contrast to past years, there were no haredim standing
along the way, protesting the parade.
For the first time since 2005, the
parade returned to its original route, making its way down King George and Keren
Hayesod streets, stopping to observe a moment of silence at the spot where three
participants were stabbed in 2005 by a haredi extremist.
Adam Russo, who
was injured in the stabbing, addressed the crowd before the parade
“Against violence, you can never give up,” he said. “If you give
up, it will only get stronger, it will only be legitimized.”
condemned activists who accuse Israel of “pinkwashing,” by highlighting Israel’s
tolerance for the gay community as an excuse for other human rights violations.
“There is a small minoritiy, which is getting smaller, and when they call it
‘pinkwashing’ it does not allow us to celebrate our advancements,” he
American philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, an early supporter of the
Open House, Jerusalem’s center for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender
community, was the keynote speaker.
“I believe in an open and inclusive
world where we can be proud of who we are,” she told The Jerusalem
Schusterman said she began supporting the Open House 12 years ago
after a rash of suicides from gay teenagers in the capital.
youth and political groups joined the march carrying the banners of their
movements. Sixty members of Telem, the Reform Youth Movement, came from all over
the country to show their political support for same-sex marriage, said 18-
year-old Hadar Katz.
Members of the right-wing Likud’s gay group joined
the parade for the first time after their founding nine months ago. Evan Cohen
of Ramat Gan said that the Likud party embraced them, but the leftwing political
parties did not. Even 20 anarchists joined the parade, dressed in black and
pink, and chanted against the opposition.
The colorful, musical parade
that wound its way down King George Street with rainbow balloons flying from
decorated wheelchairs and even a lone bagpipe with a rainbow beanie was a stark
visual contrast to the blackand- white counter-protest in the haredi
neighborhood of Mea She’arim.
Ahead of the parade, rightwing activists
lead by Baruch Marzel said they planned to bring eight live donkeys to the
parade to protest the “bestiality” of the march.
Elinor Sidi, the
director of Jerusalem’s Open House, said Marzel attempts to bring donkeys to the
parade every year. “This is animal abuse, and we really hope the Agriculture
Ministry will get involved to stop this,” she said.
Hundreds gathered in
Mea She’arim to protest the gay pride parade, though there were no
“Israel is the holy land, not the homo land,” said Ephraim
Holtzberg, one of the organizers of the counter- protest, who stressed that
people come from all over the world to enjoy Jerusalem’s holiness. “This is a
provocation... God made the world this way, they are trying to rewrite
He said the haredi community would never forgive former mayor
Ehud Olmert for allowing the gay pride parades to begin 10 years ago.
Thursday morning, police discovered the white “Welcome to Jerusalem” sign at the
entrance to the capital had been covered with rainbow paint, most likely in
support of the parade. Police opened an investigation into the incident, and the
sign was immediately cleaned.