J'lem gay and lesbian center to receive municipality funding

After struggling for years to get funding from the city, Jerusalem's Open House for Pride and Tolerance, a community center for the capital's gay and lesbian population, will be funded by the municipality on a similar level to other community centers. In January 2009, the Open House sued the municipality for failing to financially support their activities as with other community councils. The court ruled that the municipality must compensate the center because Open House provides for a minority that experiences discrimination and does not get services anywhere else, but left the amount up to the city.
The city finally decided this week to pay the Open House's rent and cancel their property tax (Arnona), on par with other community centers across the city, at least for the upcoming year. Elinor Sidi, the director of Jerusalem's Open House, said she was pleased but cautious about the decision. "Past experience has shown us that whenever the courts have forced the Jerusalem municipality to implement equal policies for the Open House, the city found a way to change the regulations to allow it to continue to ignore the needs of Jerusalem's gay community."