Gay Parade to take place in November

Agreement reached in High Court after Open House petition against police.

By DAN IZENBERG, MATTHEW WAGNER
September 18, 2006 17:26
2 minute read.
rainbow flag hangs on british street

gay flag 298 ap. (photo credit: AP)

 
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The Jerusalem Gay Parade will be held on November 10, according to a compromise agreement reached by the state and High Court petitioners on Monday. Representatives of the police, the state prosecution, the Jerusalem Municipality, leaders of the Open House - which represents the homosexual population of the city - and members of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) negotiated for three hours until they reached an agreement. Open House and ACRI petitioned the High Court on September 10, after police failed to answer a letter by the homosexual organization offering six different dates on which to hold the parade and asking the police to choose what was most convenient for them. While waiting for the hearing to begin before Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch, Justice Miriam Naor and Acting Justice Dvora Berliner, representatives of Open House got into shouting matches with opponents of the parade outside the courtroom. Among those who asked the court to be added to the list of respondents to the petition were right-wing extremists Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel and a Sufi religious leader. However, since the original parties reached an agreement without having to present their cases, there was no hearing. The six dates that Open House suggested all fell before the High Holy Days. In response to the petition, the police said they were stretched too thin to provide security for the parade until after the Jewish holidays and the monthlong Muslim fast of Ramadan. At last year's parade, dozens of haredim attacked some of the 4,000 marchers, and one stabbed three people, inflicting light to moderate wounds. Open House originally intended to hold an international gay parade in August. However, it called it off, of its own accord, because of the conflict in Lebanon. At the same time, it announced it would hold its regular annual parade on September 21. The police, however, refused to grant a permit for that date on the grounds that it wasn't "suitable." In response, the organization submitted the six other dates, all of them before the holidays, and petitioned the High Court when the police failed to reply. According to Monday's agreement, the police promised to protect the marchers when they take to the street on November 10. MK Ya'acov Litzman (United Torah Judaism) said in response that by November 10 the parade would again be delayed. "The whole world is against it," said Litzman. Marzel said in response, "There will be a holy war against [the parade]. We will do everything to disrupt the parade." Yitzhak Weiss, a journalist and spokesman for Edah Haredit, the ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist rabbinic organization based in Jerusalem, said the parade should be prevented in the name of peace. "Holding the parade in Jerusalem empties the title 'Holy City of the Jews' of all meaning," said Weiss. "Imagine having such a parade in the Vatican or in Mecca. No one is trying to deprive them of their rights or tell them what to do in their own homes."

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