Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade to march on the Knesset

March moved to July to coincide with one-year anniversary of Tel Aviv youth center shooting.

jlem pride parade 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
jlem pride parade 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Leaders of Jerusalem’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender)community have postponed this year’s annual Gay Pride Parade to lateJuly, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the shooting attack ina Tel Aviv gay and lesbian youth center that left two dead and 15wounded.
Police still have no leads in the shooting spree, whichclaimed the lives of Nir Katz, 24, and Liz Trobashi, 27. A maskedgunman stormed into the Bar-Noar youth center on Nahmani Street lastAugust 1 and opened fire with what is presumed to have been an assaultrifle.
Fifteen others, most of them minors, were wounded by gunfire before the attacker fled.
TheJerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance – which together with anumber of other LGBT groups organizes the annual parade – announced onMonday that it had decided to hold this year’s march in a “unique way,dedicating the coming year to the promotion of the LGBT community’srights, especially in light of political declarations made at lastyear’s remembrance rally [after the attack].”
The parade isusually held in June, but this year it will take place on July 29,pending police approval. The march will also feature a new route thatleads to the Knesset, where participants will issue a formal requestthat the murder case be taken up by the government in an effort tofinally catch the killer.
The march will also mark the launch of“LGBT Community Rights Year,” in which community members will demandthat the Knesset, government ministries and Israeli societysignificantly progress in promoting equal rights for the LGBT communityas well as eradicate incitement and violent discourse against them,the Jerusalem Open House said in a statement.
Politicians whospoke at the solidarity rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square a week afterthe Bar-Noar attack will be invited to speak at a rally inthe Wohl Rose Garden, near the Knesset, at the conclusion of thisyear’s parade under the banner “What has changed?”
“The LGBTcommunity is discriminated against in countless laws and suffers fromdiscrimination at the hands of government ministries,” Yonatan Gher,the executive director of the Jerusalem Open House, said in a statement.
“The Jerusalem Pride March, commemorating the anniversary of the[Bar-Noar attack], will focus on the community’s place in Israelisociety and will delineate a work plan for the coming year, to which wehope public figures, leaders and opinion-makers will enlist. Only asignificant change – starting with legislation and reaching into publicdiscourse – will constitute a fitting legacy for those who have beenmurdered because of their sexual identity.”
Nir Katz’s mother, Ayala Katz, who heads Tehila, a support organizationfor parents of LGBT community members, was quoted in the press releaseregarding her hopes for the march and the initiatives that will followit.
“Almost one year after the murder in Tel Aviv, in which my son Nir andLiz Trobashi were murdered and many others were physically and mentallyinjured, the homophobia in Israeli society that led to this atrociousact still exists,” she said.
“I hope that the march on the Knesset will signal the launch ofpromoting open dialogue, a year of promoting tolerance and openness inthe multi-faceted Israeli society, a year of promoting the love of ourfellow man or woman, whoever they may be. Such a reality willconstitute the most appropriate tribute to which I could hope for.”