A man who threatened the Jerusalem LGBTQ+ Pride March has reportedly been arrested and issued a restraining order distancing him from all Pride events this year, according to the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance.
The man, a 37-year-old resident of Ma'ale Efraim, was released on condition that he keep his distance from Pride events throughout 2023.
Last week, the Jerusalem Open House announced that it had received a threatening email reading "I hope that Yishai Schlissel (the haredi man who murdered Shira Banki, a 15-year-old girl, at the 2015 Pride parade) will be there to finish the job he started. [It's] disgusting how you celebrate this mental disorder."
The individual in question has sent multiple threats to the Open House in recent years. Shortly after receiving the threat, the Open House filed a complaint with the police.
Yonatan Welfer, chairman of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, thanked the police for acting quickly, stating "It is good that Israel Police takes seriously the threats we received at the Open House and fulfills its role in maintaining the safety of the marchers."
"It is sad to see that the public legitimization of violence and incitement against the LGBTQ+ community still exists, and has even increased, and our attitude towards it is the continuation of the LGBTQ+ struggle. I am happy to announce to that detainee and to anyone who thinks that he will reduce our steps, that the Pride and Tolerance march in Jerusalem will take place on June 1, and will proudly raise the flag of Pride, equality, freedom and love in the capital of Israel."
The Jerusalem Pride march will open Pride Month events in Israel on Thursday, June 1, with this being the 21st year that the march has been conducted in the Israeli capital. The march receives numerous threats every year and takes place under intense security measures.
Government opposition to Jerusalem Pride March
In December, Noam party head MK Avi Maoz, a member of the coalition headed by Netanyahu, told the Olam Katan Shabbat pamphlet that he would “see to it” that the march is canceled. The Jerusalem Open House responded by launching a charity fund in honor of Maoz, dedicated to "strengthening the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community in Jerusalem - in a parade, in the media, and in any way we can think of!"
The Open House set up a page on their website to donate to the fund, adding that they would update Maoz when donations were made with a personal thank you letter. Within less than a month, the fund raised over NIS 100,000. Thanking Maoz for his help in raising the funds, the Open House sent a letter to the MK inviting him to the event in late December.
Jerusalem Open House warns of emergency situation
Last week, during a special discussion by the Knesset Public Security Committee, Emuna Klein Barnoy, community director at the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, warned that Jerusalem's LGBTQ+ community is facing an "emergency situation" in light of the current government, with LGBTQ-phobic incidents being reported dozens of times every day.
"We're seeing violence distributed throughout the entire city," said Barnoy. "We're being flooded by reports. The number of reports to the Open House rose from 14 reports per day to 20-25 reports per day. We're collapsing under the workload created by the emergency situation that our community has entered due to the current government."