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10,000 participants at Jerusalem’s 4th Pride

in ISRAEL, 01/07/2005

Three participants hospitalized after ultra-Orthodox attacker goes on stabbing rampage

Jerusalem Open House: “Violence will never deter our commitment to achieve LGBT equality, nor our struggle for a better Jerusalem.”

Israeli Interior Minister: “Heads of the Jerusalem Municipality should self reflect on their contribution to the incitement.”

Jerusalem, July 1st, 2005
A record 10,000 people marched in yesterday’s 4th Jerusalem Pride Parade: Love Without Borders, which took place following Sunday’s court ruling ordering Jerusalem Mayor, Uri Lupoliansky, to provide all the necessary resources for the event. Turnout at this year’s Jerusalem Pride by far surpassed the organizers’ pre-march estimates, transforming the event into one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in Jerusalem in recent years.

However, not only the turnout at the event was unprecedented.

Police estimate that close to 700 ultra-Orthodox Jews protested the event, waving banners, shouting homophobic remarks and trying to disrupt the parade. Police officers on the scene, including Jerusalem Police Chief Ilan Franko, separated the protestors from the marchers, allowing the parade to proceed as planned through the center of Jerusalem, from the pedestrian mall near the Jerusalem Open House headquarters to Liberty Bell Park.

Nevertheless, a lone attacker, a 30-year old ultra-Orthodox male, now in police custody was able to break through a police cordon and stab three participants, before being stopped by marchers and police. The three have been hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Sha’arei Tzedek Hospital, where one is reported to have sustained medium injuries and the other two, light wounds.

The violent attack was not successful in halting the event and the parade continued.

At Liberty Bell Park, organizers read a statement from the Israeli Interior Minister, Ophir Pines-Paz: “Jerusalem Pride is part of the struggle for human rights and freedom for all sectors of society. The heads of the Jerusalem Municipality should self reflect on their contribution to the incitement leading up to today’s violence.

Noa Sattath, Jerusalem Open House chairperson, read a message from one of the injured: I want Pride to continue. Next year I intend to march as well in the front row of the Jerusalem WorldPride parade.

Hagai El-Ad, Jerusalem Open House Executive Director, said, “This violent attack is a direct result of Mayor Lupoliansky’s ongoing campaign of incitement. Yesterday’s Pride events focused on a message of love and tolerance and these values cannot be obstructed by violence.”

Following yesterday’s abhorrent attack, many letters of support were received at the Jerusalem Open House.

“We at Congregation Beth Simchat Torah are steadfast in our support of WorldPride 2006, Gay Pride in Jerusalem and the Jerusalem Open House”, said Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, North American Chair of WorldPride 2006 and senior Rabbi of the world's largest LGBT synagogue. “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. We believe that the members of JOH are living examples of the core values of our religious tradition.”

“The ugly act of hatred and violence that marred an otherwise joyous and successful Pride celebration in Jerusalem, shows the way in which religion is perverted to incite hatred against gay people,” said Matt Foreman, Executive Director of the US National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “Even in the face of violence, we must keep on marching for justice, and we will, next year in Jerusalem.”
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