Thousands jeer far-right minister at Jerusalem Gay Pride amid safety fears

The Jerusalem Gay Pride march noticed 1000’s of participants, regardless of safety concerns because of online threats and counter-protests. This was the primary march for the rationale that election of a hardline religious-nationalist government, which includes senior ministers with brazenly homophobic views. The occasion highlighted the deepening divisions within Israeli society, the place secular Jews have long supported LGBTQ rights, but political and demographic shifts are more and more empowering the nationalist and ultra-Orthodox right-wing.
Tensions had been high, as in 2015, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish extremist killed a teenage participant at the march. Participants waved massive rainbow and Israeli flags, and banners accusing far-right ministers of trying to force them “back in the closet”. Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right Police Minister, has a historical past of aggressively homophobic positions and once attended a so-called “beast parade” opposing LGBTQ rights.
Easy have been arrested by the police as a outcome of threats made earlier than the event, and an internet watchdog reported a surge in homophobic hate speech. Far-right Telegram and WhatsApp groups revealed “violent and hateful messages” throughout the week, in accordance with FakeReporter, which screens online extremism. Lehava, a far-right group, referred to the march as the “abomination parade” and referred to as for protests accompanied by a message stating that it will be a “deadly Thursday”.
The occasion was protected by barricades, and the route was patrolled by hundreds of armed police officers. Organisers reported a record attendance of 30,000 people after warning of a “public local weather of danger” for LGBTQ people. As the rally started, Ben-Gvir, surrounded by his armed security group, briefly toured a street running parallel, inflicting marchers to rush to barricades and shout “shame” at him.
A few dozen ultra-religious and far-right protesters, organised by Lehava, have been separated by police from the Gay Pride rally. Banners read: “Don’t let them have children” and “Jerusalem is not Sodom”, in reference to the biblical metropolis supposedly destroyed by God for the sin of homosexuality.
This is available in a yr marked by an unprecedented clash between secular Israelis and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s authorities, culminating in weekly protests towards the coalition’s now-delayed plans to strip powers from the Supreme Court. Netanyahu has rejected claims that his coalition would erode LGBTQ rights. He tweeted through the occasion: “I am proud that Israel is amongst the most open countries on the earth in relation to the homosexual neighborhood and that the discourse in it has turn into more accepting and respectful yearly.”
Elisa Gilman, a Gay Pride marcher, stood with a sign offering “free hugs” to youthful participants who “haven’t had a hug from a father or mother for a while” because of their sexuality. She told the BBC that many gay individuals have been “worried” by the current coalition. Another marcher, Yuval from Jerusalem, mentioned, “We’re here at present to say that we’re here to stay and that we are going to not surrender.”
In 2006, Ben-Gvir attended a so-called beast parade in opposition to Gay Pride, during which religious activists led goats and donkeys via the streets and hoisted banners calling LGBTQ individuals “impure”. Two years later, he was photographed kicking a trans woman at Gay Pride in Tel Aviv. He later claimed it was in self-defence. Ben-Gvir has since distanced himself from the beast parade and reportedly described LGBTQ folks as his “brothers and sisters”..

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