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Marchers attacked
at annual Jerusalem pride event

Marchers attacked
at annual Jerusalem pride event

Alongside the unprecedented 10,000 participants in Jerusalem's 4th annual Pride Parade on July 1 were 700 ultra-Orthodox Jews protesting the event with stink bombs and picket signs. Police officers separated the two groups to minimize disruption. But one 30-year-old ultra-Orthodox man managed to get through the police and stab three of the marchers before he was captured and taken into custody. According to Israel Radio, several other protesters were also arrested.

The three victims were sent to Sha'arei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem, where it was reported that one had been seriously wounded and the other two had suffered minor injuries. The parade continued despite the attack. "Jerusalem Pride is part of the struggle for human rights and freedom for all sectors of society," said Israeli interior minister Ophir Pines-Paz in a statement read by organizers at Jerusalem's Liberty Bell Park. "The heads of the Jerusalem Municipality should self-reflect on their contribution to the incitement leading up to today's violence."

Jerusalem Open House, a gay community organization, received many letters of support in response to the incident. One message came from one of the victims, who said, "I want Pride to continue. Next year I intend to march as well--in the front row of the Jerusalem WorldPride parade." Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, North American Chair of WorldPride 2006, also expressed her support. "Violence will not keep us from traveling to Jerusalem next summer and proclaiming that the holiest of cities belongs to all of us, not just those who would stoop to the depths that the perpetrators of this act have," she said. "We believe that the members of JOH are living examples of the core values of our religious tradition."

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