Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel, or Aguda, has released a shocking report which details a high prevalence of homophobic attacks against the LGBT+ community in Israel.
Widely thought to be a leader in gay rights in the Middle East with a hugely popular gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv, the report states that homophobic attacks occur every 10 hours, while homophobic social media posts were reported every four minutes. In fact, the place with the highest percentage of reported attacks was also Tel Aviv, with 33 percent of all attacks. Although that could also be contributed to the greater likelihood of attacks being reported there which could go unnoticed elsewhere.
In an interview with Gay Star News, Hen Arieli, spokesperson for Aguda, stated “Even today, in elections time, we are witnessing homophobic propaganda by radical parties, and the government does nothing in order to stop it. [The] first way to enable a bad habit is not to act against it.’
At last year’s Jerusalem Pride parade, over 2,500 police officers stood guard in the wake of the murder of 16 year-old Shira Banki who was one of six people stabbed by the ultra-Orthodox zealot Yishai Schlissel.
While there were no reported incidents of violence, not all residents were receptive to celebrating Jerusalem Pride. The city’s chief rabbi previously demanded all rainbow flags be removed from the vicinity of local synagogues, while over 200 religious clerics signed a letter calling the gay community an “organization of abominations” and branded the march “aggressive terrorism, accompanied by media brainwashing, to turn the perverts into heroes”.
In a further sign of an unwelcome stance from locals, Liberty Bell Park, which was used as a congregating area post-march, had its fencing covered with sheeting to prevent those outside from seeing the festivities. Also taking place in tandem with the parade was a counter protest organised by Orthodox rabbis unhappy with such a visible LGBT+ presence.
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