The Tragic Paradox of Tel Aviv
BY James Kirchick
August 09 2009 11:00 PM ET
At a Washington vigil held last Monday evening to mourn the victims of the Tel Aviv gay youth center shooting, an official from the Israeli embassy made a keen observation. It was a "tragic paradox," he said, for "this crime could only take place in Israel out of all the countries in the Middle East because there's nowhere else in the Middle East where there could be a meeting house for gay young people, which is open and which everybody knows its address."
That Israel is the only country in the region where homosexuality is not illegal will come as cold comfort to the victims, their families, and the country's gays, who are rightly outraged that an individual would shoot up a meeting place for gay youths. Testaments to the vibrancy and openness of Israeli gay life means nothing when two young people lie dead, nearly a dozen are injured, and an entire community is in shock.
But if there is anything positive to be gleaned from this horrific incident, it has been the reaction of the Jewish state's citizens. The country's newspapers have published countless articles about the status of gay people in Israeli society and the persistent problem of homophobia. Even the country's ultrareligious figures -- perhaps cognizant of how their own teachings may have created an environment in which such an attack could take place -- have condemned the murders.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, derided by so many critics of Israel as a far-right warmonger, immediately visited the gay center and pledged that his government would find the killer. "I say to the Israeli people: We are a democratic country, we are a country of tolerance, a country of laws, and we must respect every person, whoever and wherever he is," he said.
- Buck Angel Shuts Down Transgender Surgery Fundraising Site
- PHOTOS: 6 Couples Australia's High Court Says Aren't Married Anymore
- The Many Faces of LGBT Family
- 10 Snarky Quotes That Will Make You Miss Michael Kors on Project Runway
- WATCH: The Best of LGBT Chorus Holiday Music
- WATCH: Trailer for the Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending Premieres Online
- Holiday Gifts for Everyone 15 Gifts to Keep You Gorgeous 1 hour 4 min ago
- Acceptance Matters Op-ed: Differences Don't Make Families Inferior 2 hours 4 min ago
- Parenting Nonprofit Serves Up Resource to Answer LGBT Parents' Questions 2 hours 5 min ago
- Marriage Equality Australia's High Court Says These Couples Aren't Married December 11 2013 8:37 PM
- Women Meet Gender Scientist Anne Fausto-Sterling December 11 2013 7:42 PM
- Women WATCH: Michelle Chamuel Returns to The Voice with 'Go Down Singing' December 11 2013 7:10 PM
- Politics Mich. Governor Condemns RNC Member's Latest Antigay Remark December 11 2013 7:01 PM