(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A survey conducted last week by Geocartography Knowledge Group found that 64 percent of Jewish Israelis oppose holding the Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem.
The 64% either voiced complete opposition to the parade or agreed with the following statement:
"Even if authorities permit the homo-lesbian pride parade in Tel Aviv or in other cities, it should be banned in Jerusalem due to the sanctity of the city in the eyes of many in Israel and in the world, and because of the sensitivity of more than half of Jerusalem's population who are religious."
Prof. Avi Degani, head of the Geocartography Knowledge Group, said he was not surprised by the results.
"Previous surveys have revealed the same opposition among Israelis to the parade," said Degani, who added that his polling agency had initiated the survey. "We often do independent surveys on issues that in the news," he said.
Jerusalem Open House Director Noa Satat said the survey reflected a marked rise in support for the parade, which would go ahead on Thursday as planned.
"The Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem is not a provocation and not a party," Satat said. Holding it in Jerusalem, with its heavily religious population, "expresses a [special] message of both pride and tolerance.
"It is no small feat that since last year, support for the parade has risen by 25 percentage points. We believe that the Israeli public understands that the struggle for the right to have the parade and for tolerance is not only the struggle of the homo-lesbian community. Rather, it is the struggle of the entire Jewish people to protect the democratic character of the State of Israel.
Meanwhile, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's name appeared on a press release calling on Jews to protest the parade.
"The previous parade brought upon us the Second Lebanon War, with 150 dead and 1 million refugees... We call on all Jews to come to Jerusalem to use lawful means to stop the parade," the statement read.
Steinsaltz is the honorary president of a revived version of the Sanhedrin, the ancient 71-man governing body of the Jewish people, which published the press release.
Steinsaltz could not be reached for comment.