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TAKING PART in a previous year’s Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem..(Photo by: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Drama or farce?
By PEGGY CIDOR
05/30/2019
Proposed budget of NIS 500,000 to fund the Open House’s 2019 community activities – including the Gay Pride parade scheduled for next week – was voted down at the municipal committee level.
It’s like deja vu all over again.

A proposed budget of NIS 500,000 to fund the Open House’s 2019  community activities – including the Gay Pride parade scheduled for next week – was voted down at the municipal committee level due to the opposition of the committee’s haredi representatives, all members of the mayor's coalition.

However, Laura Wharton (Meretz), also a member of the coalition, showed little concern. She knows that this happens every year at this stage – and that the decision will be reversed at the next city council meeting. All of the council members know that there is no way to prevent or cancel this funding, as it has been ruled on a few years ago by the Supreme Court.

Still, it is a difficult moment for the haredi representatives. They know that their support of this activity would not be viewed favorably inside their sector. “We know that our hands are tied by the Court decision, but many in our sector are unaware of this limitation, and they expect us to act to prevent this desecration of the Holy City,” explained one haredi committee member.

So following a well-rehearsed script, the haredi representatives oppose the funding at the committee level, reflecting the will of their constituencies, yet know that the disbursements will ultimately be approved, because nobody, including the mayor, can disobey a Supreme Court ruling.

Meanwhile, people and organizations that promote the needs of the LBGT community are mobilized ahead of the city council meeting to ensure that one of the council members, perhaps even the mayor himself, will find a way for the proposal to pass in a vote. In this annual ritual, everyone wins: the opposition gains a nice opportunity to harshly criticize the mayor and his haredi coalition, the haredim and the religious feel that they have done what they can to defend their positions, the mayor obeys the Court and the budget reaches its intended beneficiaries. In this way, every side is satisfied, all sensibilities are safe and the gay pride will take place next week in Jerusalem – just a couple of days before many on both sides of the funding issue spend the night of Shavuot in study.

And like clockwork, all of the parties will meet again next year.
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