Israel Police spent the weeks leading up to June 1, 2023, preparing for the 21st annual Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance.
Approximately 2,000 Jerusalem District police officers, including Border Police officers, will be operating along the parade route. The Border Police contingent will include both uniformed officers and those in plain clothes. They will also be joined by reinforcements and volunteers. All security forces will operate under the supervision of district commander Deputy Commissioner Doron Tugeman.
Festivities will start at Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Park at 3 p.m., and the march will leave from there at 5 p.m. continuing onto King David Street, Keren Hayesod Street, King George Avenue, Hillel Street, Menashe Ben-Israel Street and finally finishing at Independence Park.
Police security measures for Jerusalem Pride
In total, there will be four entry and exit points along the route. Barring emergency circumstances, individuals will be strictly relegated to entry or exit at those specific points. Security officers will be stationed at each point to conduct security checks as needed.
Police have placed a strict ban on weapons of any kind as well as flying remote vehicles of any kind including drones.
Anti-LGBTQ activists were granted permission to hold a counter-protest at Bloomfield Garden on King David Street. Police emphasized that they will “act decisively against any party that tries to violate the order and hinder the proper course of the parade.”
Israel Police International Spokesman Master Sgt. Dean Elsdunne explained to The Jerusalem Post that “We want everyone to enjoy this event. It’s something that’s taken place for many years.” This sentiment was echoed by Jerusalem District Police Spokesman Chief Superintendent Idan Ilouz, who assured the Post that the police force’s primary focus was to keep everyone safe and keep the parade route secure.
The Jerusalem Open House, which organizes the annual parade, confirmed that they had a positive experience cooperating with the police. “The police have not posed any issues,” an anonymous Open House source told the Post. “We are sure that they [will] do everything [they can] in order to be there and protect the marchers.”
The event preparations were briefly interrupted on Sunday evening when National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir informed Police Chief Kobi Shabtai that he intended to “closely and vigilantly” monitor police conduct during the march. This, according to Israeli media sources, was seen by police officials as overstepping and received sharp criticism.
The Open House sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing concern over Ben-Gvir’s involvement. “Minister Ben-Gvir, who for years has opposed the [Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance], was part of the [anti-LGBT pride] ‘March of Beasts,’ petitioned on multiple occasions to cancel the parade, spoke out strongly against it and [legally] represented the family member of the [2015 pride parade murderer] Yishai Schlissel, is not the right person to oversee the parade.”
The statement concluded, saying: “Therefore, we appeal to you as Israel’s minister [and] as someone who has expressed his commitment to the LGBT community…to withdraw your support for [Ben-Gvir’s] security operation.”