Jerusalem Pride parade attendees stand under a make-shift Chuppah made out of a Pride flag.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Undercover police officers stationed at the Jerusalem Pride parade have arrested a man with a knife, the Israel Police said in a statement on Thursday.
The officers noticed a man who was acting suspiciously during the event, who was close to Liberty Bell Park.
"While being searched, the undercover policemen found a knife that had been hidden in the suspect's shoes," the police said. "The suspect also refused to show his identity document when asked for it."
He was arrested and taken in by the officers for questioning.
An additional 49 people were detained for questioning for trying to disrupt the march, the police added.
Likud MK Amir Ohana, who became Israel's first openly gay minister on Wednesday when he was appointed interim justice minister, also attended the event. Video footage shows the right-wing Knesset member being booed by the crowd, with people chanting "Embarrassment."
First-ever openly gay Israeli MK Amir Ohana gets booed at the Jerusalem Pride parade (Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Ohana later said, "As a liberal who believes wholeheartedly in freedom of expression, I told the same group of protesters protesting against me, neither ultra-Orthodox nor religious, that it was important that they came there. I just hope that this did not overshadow the main message that should emerge from this event.
It does not matter whether you are religious, secular, rightist, leftist, LGBT or not - the message is a message of tolerance. "
Police said that 10,000 people attended the Jerusalem event. Some 2,500 policeman, border police and undercover police were called in to secure the route and venue of the parade, which started at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
Counter-protests against the parade were expected to take place nearby - opposite the entrance to Liberty Bell Park, where the event kicked off, and at Paris Square. About 300 people allegedly attended to join in those protests, which were monitored by police units.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post
earlier this week that security around the parade has been increased since the 2015 stabbing at the event in which 16-year-old Shira Banki was murdered by an ultra-Orthodox protester who went on a stabbing rampage. Five other people were wounded in that attack.
Police arrested right-wing activist Moshiko Ben Zikri on Wednesday night during an anti-Pride parade rally.
During the past two Pride parades, Zikri snuck into the Pride parade under the guise that he was part of the LGBTQ community, only to later rant against the parade once he made his way to the podium.
“The State of Israel is not Iran and it is the right of every person to demonstrate in front of the Gay Pride Parade - even if the police do not like it,” Zikri’s lawyer Itamar Ben-Gvir said after the arrest. “This is a dictatorial detention whose purpose is to shut people up in a way that is reminiscent of the dark ages.”
Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.