2006 Jerusalem gay pride parade

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The 2006 Jerusalem gay pride parade was a scheduled event which took place on November 10, 2006. The demonstration was met with violent counter-demonstrators.

Background[edit]

Since the 1990s an annual gay pride parade takes place in Tel Aviv, Israel and sometimes also in Eilat. Tel Aviv had previously been the venue for the only yearly gay pride parade in the Middle East.[citation needed] Tel Aviv was first city in Israel to have a gay pride parade, which started in the street of Shenkin and expanded to large-scale events in the following years. In 2005, 100,000 people participated in the Tel Aviv gay pride parade.

The Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH) is the focal point of gay pride events in Jerusalem and exists since 1997. Since 2002, it held small annual gay pride parades in Jerusalem (up to 10,000 people).

On June 30, 2005, the parade took place after it had originally been prohibited by a municipal ban, which was cancelled by the district court order. During the parade, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stabbed three parade participants and was charged with attempted murder.[1][2]

The 2006 Event[edit]

In 2006 it was announced that the WorldPride event held each year in different capitals or large cities of the world will come to Jerusalem. The 22nd annual conference of InterPride, held in October 2003 in Montreal, Canada with over 150 delegates from 51 cities from around the world in attendance, voted to accept the bid of the Jerusalem Open House to host WorldPride 2006 in the Holy City.[2]

The parade was scheduled for the 6th of August and received harsh objection from Israeli religious circles from the offshoot. It was eventually cancelled due to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, but a week of events did take place as scheduled and included five conferences, a film festival, exhibitions, and literary and political events.[3] The parade itself was cancelled but the Jerusalem Open House announced that it would hold a parade on November 10 after reaching an agreement with the police and with the municipality.[4]

Opposition[edit]

Crowd at a demonstration organized by the Edah HaChareidis. Jerusalem, 18 Oct. 2006.

Virulent opposition from Haredi and other Orthodox Jewish corners as well as from the Israeli Arab sector has led many to believe that unless the gay pride parade was canceled, a violent outcome would be unavoidable.[3] Others who came out against the parade include Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Amar[4] and MK Yitzhak Levy.[5]

The main opposition from the Haredi Jewish sector was organized by the Edah HaChareidis rabbinical organization. On 18 October, Rabbis from across the Orthodox spectrum called for the parade to be forbidden. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who was one of the first to express his opposition, called for a "demonstration of a million".

Well-known right-wing activists Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben Gvir and Hillel Weiss called for a 'holy war' against the parade and announced that unless the parade were cancelled, it would lead to violence.[6][7] The organizers of the parade filed a police complaint against them, accusing them of incitement to murder.[8]

On the night of Thursday 2 November, a demonstration in Meah Shearim led to rioting. Thousands of protesters blocked roads with burning garbage cans, and police responded in force, sending hundreds of Yassam riot police and Border Police armed with batons, water cannons and horses.[citation needed] Seven policemen and an unknown number of protestors were wounded.[citation needed] Haredi spokesmen strongly spoke out against the police for using an "excessive level of violence".[citation needed]

The organizers, of the Jerusalem Open House organization made plans to deal with contingencies including multiple wounded and dead.[9] However, the parade was eventually held with no casualties. [5]

Aftermath[edit]

In 2007, the Israeli Knesset approved legislation to prevent further parades in Jerusalem, and in response Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office released a statement that he "does not think that Jerusalem is the appropriate location for holding gay-pride parades due to the special sensitive nature of the city, although he believes that such matters should not be limited by law."[citation needed] . The legislation was again introduced in 2008,[10] but again did not become law, and in June 2008 the Israeli High Court denied petitions to stop gay pride parades in Jerusalem,[11] and a parade was held in 2008 and in 2009.[12]

In Film[edit]

Two films have been made about this event. Nitzan Giladi directed the 80-minute documentary Jerusalem Is Proud to Present, and Chutzpa Productions produced the 45-minute documentary short Pride.

See also[edit]

References[edit]