general refused to ban a gay pride parade in Jerusalem
despite threats of violence from ultra-Orthodox Jews,
instructing police and gay activists to try to work
out a compromise, the police commander said Sunday. A
Justice Ministry statement said Attorney General Meni
Mazuz ordered police to meet with gay activists ''to work
out a reasonable alternative proposal'' for the march,
set for Friday on a route through the middle of the
city. The meeting is to take place Monday, gay
activists said, and a compromise was likely.
Jews have rioted in Jerusalem nearly every night over the
past week, burning garbage cans, blocking roads, and
assaulting police officers in an attempt to get the
authorities to call off the march, approved months ago
by the supreme court. Many religious Jews, Muslims,
and Christians see homosexuality as a sin and the march as
an affront to the sanctity of the holy city.
Sunday that the danger of violence was too great to allow
the march to proceed, but they left the final decision
to Mazuz. ''We understand that the potential danger to
life and bloodshed is greater than that to free
speech,'' said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Ella Canetti, one
of the organizers of the gay pride march, said they
would meet police on Monday and were willing to be flexible.
''We are prepared to alter the route of our march to
meet police concerns,'' she told the Associated Press.
''According to what we understand, a modest gay pride
march will take place in Jerusalem.''
Mazuz, Jerusalem police commander Ilan Franco said, ''It
may be that there will be a march and a closing event at a
place which both sides decide is reasonable and
minimizes potential damage and danger.''
But it was
unclear whether such a compromise would satisfy the
ultra-Orthodox Jewish opponents. At last year's march, an
ultra-Orthodox man stabbed and wounded three
There was some
dissent Sunday among gay activists. Saar Nathaniel, a gay
member of Jerusalem's city council and one of the march's
planners, suggested Sunday that gay activists cancel
the march in return for ultra-Orthodox members of
parliament supporting gay rights legislation.
A gay columnist
in the liberal Haaretz daily called on
organizers to show sensitivity for Jerusalem's special
status as a city holy to three faiths and move the
march to the more permissive Tel Aviv.
said six policemen have been hurt in the clashes over
the past week and 60 rioters have been arrested. Over the
weekend the disturbances spread outside Jerusalem to
the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, near Tel Aviv,
where rioters blocked one of Israel's main highways
with burning tires. (AP)