(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
As tensions continued to rise on Wednesday ahead of Thursday's Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, Dana Olmert, daughter of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, compared the right to march in the parade to the right to vote.
"The question of 'Why in Jerusalem?' is like asking why we need to give people voting rights," she said in an interview with Army Radio. "The Gay Pride Parade is a political event. It's an expression of political activism - you don't ask permission to do it."
Haredi leaders want protests to stop
Olmert's daughter, an activist for the gay and lesbian community in Israel, added that as far as she was concerned, explaining why the parade should be held in Jerusalem was like explaining why the Jewish or Arab people were not inferior to others.
"This sounds just shocking, and anyone who asks this question, I answer and tell them, 'I'm sorry, I have nothing to say to you,'" she said.
"The question isn't whether we're allowed or not allowed to march; the question is whether we're allowed to express ourselves in a homophobic manner in Israeli society and how we could make it so the parade is not allowed," she added.
"In every place that there is subjugation, resistance is created," Olmert said. "Even if it is embryonic at this stage, it will get bigger, because even in haredi society, there are gays and lesbians."
She expressed hope that "all this ongoing controversy between the gay and lesbian community and the haredim has caused these people to feel that they are not alone, and that they can, in any number of ways, break out of this ghetto of oppression in which they live."
Meanwhile, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition against the parade on Wednesday - one of many that have been filed against the event.
Earlier Wednesday morning, police arrested 12 haredi protesters from Bnei Brak for allegedly throwing stones at cars along Route 4 in opposition to the parade.
Various leading rabbis and yeshiva heads have forbidden their students to take part in violent protests, as damage to property is an unjustified transgression of Torah law.
However, Magen David Adom crews were preparing to monitor the event in case of clashes between the groups.