By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com August 03 2012 1:47 PM ET
Thousands marched in Jerusalem’s 10th annual Gay Pride Parade Thursday, and they kept the event festive while still honoring those killed in a community center shooting three years ago, and despite the nearby presence of ultra-Orthodox protesters.
The parade was dedicated to the memory of Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trobishi, 16, killed by a gunman at a Tel Aviv center for LGBT youth in 2009, a crime that remains unsolved, the Global Post reports. But the event was brightened by signs celebrating 10 years of pride and saying “Love Thy Neighbor,” and by rainbow-colored banners and costumes.
There was a heavy police presence at the parade, as ultra-Orthodox Jews have sometimes clashed with parade participants and attendees; three people were stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man in 2005, and the following year a series of threats forced the event’s postponement from summer to November.
No violence was reported this year, and the parade was routed away from the area where right-wing activists were holding a protest. “Jerusalem has changed a lot in the past 10 years,” Elinor Sidi, one of the parade’s organizers, told newspaper Haaretz. The decade, she said, has been one of advancement for LGBT residents.
The right-wing demonstration included three donkeys, brought by organizer Baruch Marzel, who said they represented the “bestiality” of the LGBT event, Israel National News reports. They wore signs that read “I’m Proud Too,” “Proud Donkey,” and “Pride March.” He said the parade’s “impurity” and “abomination” threaten the “sanctity” of Israel.
See photos of the festivities — and the protest — on the following pages.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men pray during a protest in their neighborhood against the annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem Thursday. Opposition to such events is fiercer in Jerusalem, where religious feelings can run high, than in the more laid-back seaside city of Tel Aviv, but police were out in force to keep the peace.