Jerusalem gay pride parade_311.
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
Holding the LGBT pride parade in the streets of Jerusalem is contradicting its characteristics as a holy city, said the capital’s Ashkenazi chief rabbi Aryeh Stern on Thursday.
Stern stressed that he objects and condemns any form of violence against the parade, but believes that there is no room for such events in Jerusalem.
“It is sad that a couple of days after Tisha B’Av, when masses visited Jerusalem and remembered it being a holy city… The essence of this parade is contradicting the trend of Jerusalem as a holy city, and that is the city we want,” said Stern in an interview to Army Radio.
“My views are known when it comes to violence,” Stern added. “I participated in the memorial ceremony for Shira Banki, and came to her house to console the grieving family. But holding the parade in the city streets is causing more damage to its supporters than benefiting them."
The theme of this year’s parade, that will take place on Thursday, is LGBT and religion. It will be the 16th consecutive year that the parade will be held in the capital.
Sarah Kala, CEO of LGBT advocacy NGO The Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, told The Jerusalem Post that this comes as an answer to all of those who claim to oppose the LGBT community in the name of religion.
“Our main message is saying ‘No,’ this is not our [way of practicing] religion,” said Kala. “There are many religious people who are willing to accept the LGBT community, and we intend that the parade will be a platform for dialogue and understanding, not for hatred.”
The parade will include a 1 km. march, to Independence Park, where musicians will perform. The concert will be held in memory of singer and activist Amir Fryszer Guttman, who was supposed to host the event but died two weeks ago after saving his niece from drowning at an Atlit beach.
Hundreds of policemen, border policemen and police volunteers will secure the march. All of the streets surrounding the parade will be closed for traffic during the afternoon and evening. This includes King George Avenue and Hillel, Agron, Keren Hayesod and Be’eri streets.
Police have issued a permit to extreme-right groups, such as Lehava, to hold a counterprotest, several hundred meters away from the march, under police guard. Police have warned around 50 individuals not to disrupt the parade, with some told that they cannot be in the capital on Thursday.
Lehava CEO Bentzi Gopstein told the Post that some 50 protesters plan to attend the event. He added that their main themes will be “Jerusalem is not Sodom” and “Do not let them adopt children.”
The Jerusalem Municipality told the Post that Mayor Nir Barkat will not attend the parade, due to a trip abroad. The municipality added that “recently, Barkat allocated some NIS 500,000 in support of the Open House.”