Israel, Sex & Gender

Gay Rights Rally Draws Thousands


HaDag Nahash perform at today’s gay pride rally in Givat Ram

After weeks of ultra-Orthodox hate rhetoric and threats, Jerusalem’s GLBT community and its supporters held a peaceful “Pride” rally at the city’s Hebrew University Givat Ram Stadium on Friday afternoon. The somewhat secluded venue was a last-minute compromise between organizers and police in light of threats of violence from the city’s ultra-Orthodox community and a national terror alert related to events in Gaza.
More than 4,000 supporters attended the rally to urge increased tolerance in Judaism’s holiest city and human rights for all individuals. Secured by 3,000 police officers, the event’s subdued nature was due in part to ultra-Orthodox leaders calling on followers to read psalms at synagogues instead of attacking gays, as has been previously encouraged. Attendees filled a portion of the large sports stadium, waving a multitude of signs, banners and – of course – rainbow paraphernalia.
As with American “Pride” demonstration, representatives from a host of Leftist causes mixed with the crowd. Popular topics included peace with the Palestinians, an end to Orthodox homophobia, and rejection of militarism. Attendees were treated to performances by HaDag Nahash (“The Snakefish”), an internationally-known Israeli hip-hop band, as well as speeches from community and civil rights leaders.
Due to security threats and the last-minute venue change, rally attendance was less than expected, with police officers and journalists almost outnumbering participants. Though the original parade was cancelled and today’s rally took place far from downtown Jerusalem, Orthodox leaders nonetheless saw fit to condemn any display of tolerance and diversity. “If it was up to me, I would send the gay community to Sodom and Gomorrah,” Shas Chairman Eli Yishai told Israel Radio on Friday.
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12 thoughts on “Gay Rights Rally Draws Thousands

  1. Ban the Haredi Community from the Kotel. They force the cancellation of my freedoms they can have theirs cancelled in return. Let them pray at the Southern wall and Masorti, Refrom, and other congregations – including my LGBT congregation can worship at the Kotel.
    Their hatered has trumped my rights this day. Shame on them.]
    The LGBT community did everything to reach a compromise but apparently reason doesn’t matter anymore.
    If they want a war for Israel’s society then bring it.
    Item number one:
    Conscription
    #2: One national secular education system
    #3: Civil marriage
    #4: removal of subsidy for religious institutions
    Chazak Ve’Ematz.

  2. Be consistent, if you believe you can ignore certain commandments of the Torah based on love for your fellow man, than give the land of Israel back to the pals. That would make a lot more people happier. Ignore the commandments to settle the land, love for the pals has priority. In fact, love cancels all commandments and the Torah is one-dimensional.
    And remember, religious Jewish zealots made Jerusalem famous.

  3. formermuslim,
    If I recall Hillel correctly when asked to teach the whole Torah ‘al regel achat’ he responded to love one’s neighbor as one’s self (or is it what is hateful to you don;t do to your neighbor, i never rememeber) and the rest is commentary. Seems pretty one demesional to me.

  4. TomC
    Their hatred is not the problem it is their intolerance. It is this fear of sex, fear of our power as sexual beings, fear of the freedom that is implicit in pride. Yet, it is this fear that has trampled on your freedom and therefore mine. So, the question is how to bring more tolerance and understanding to the hareidi community.
    Be more tolerant and understanding yourself. To understand the source of the hatred as intolerance and the source of intolerance as a coping mechanism in an ever-changing complex existence of the post-modern world we occupy. They are resistant to change, they live in the past and strive to maintain an order to their world.

  5. I do understand where they’re coming from… Went to jewishh schooling for 12 years…But at some point when do you stop understanding and start defending yourself. That is what the state of israel is predicated on.

  6. First of all there is no need to defend yourself for you have done nothing wrong.
    You NEVER stop understanding. Understanding is something that grows, that deepens, that evolves. I remembering hearing about some Rabbi that Israel suffers from a tyranny of certitudes. Have you ever spoken to an Israeli? They always know, in fact they know better than you. When you know something with full certainty (even science cannot claim this) then there is no room for any new understandings. So, when I read “when do you stop understanding”? I hope never.
    And so your statement that this is what Israel is predicated upon is true and explains the problem, except that instead of being between Jews and Arabs it is between Hariedim and Queers.

  7. On an entirely different point: The rally was really nice. There were scouts, seniors, parents, kids, 20-somethings, Reform and Conservative rabbis studying texts, straights, queers, Anglos, sabras . . . pretty much everyone who took to the stage commented on the diversity of the crowd. The vibe was simply joyous (joyful?). I’ll also add that (in comparison to, say, protests I’ve attended in NYC) my experience was that the police were friendly and helpful.
    I think the key words here are pluralism, tolerance, and respect. Call me naive, but no matter what point of view I advocate, I prefer winning people over to it through kindness and reason, not violence and anger.
    And, a note on hypocracy, or perhaps simply a failure of self-awareness: Is there anyone who really believes that being born Haredi or Orthodox Muslim means you are less likely to be queer? I would hazard a guess that the percentage of LGBT folks in the Haredi world are roughly the same as anywhere else.
    Photos from the rally: http://www.flickr.com/photos/newjewisheducation/

  8. I dunno,
    It was a nice gesture, this parade, but I really feel bad for the organizers who again were casualties of the horrible situation politically. The fact is, aside from some revelry,the rally drew zero visibility.In the end, All they did was preach to the choir.

  9. TomC,
    why do you think that your freedoms should come at the expense of others? Is that really a liberal thought? Some ideas are just plain stupid, provocative, and inherently un-tolerant themselves: a KKK parade in East LA, an ‘Israel Day’ parade in Dearbon, and a ‘pride’ parade in Jerusalem.

  10. wherever Sodom and Amorah once were is probably a luxury spa on the Dead Sea now– nice.
    Though my reading of the Sodom and Amorah story is about xenophobia and using sex and rape as a weapon– how we relate to the “other”.
    [note in chap Isaiah that Jerusalem is compared to Sdom not becase of who’s having sex with who, but because of how the more vulnerable people are treated]

  11. If the LGBT community expects tolerance, they too should live by it and respect the sensitivities of the religious community that makes up the majority of Jerusalem. Was it worth it dividing the nation, wasting police resources, and sparking riots in order to have a gay parade? Is the fact that some men choose to sleep with men worth celebrating in the form of a parade and concert? For the sake of maintaining peace, why not keep personal behavior within the bedrooms? Why paradei t in the streets?

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