Some 1,500 people gathered in Jerusalem’s Independence Park, Gan Ha’atzmaut, on Thursday afternoon ahead of Jerusalem’s 10th annual Gay Pride Parade. On Thursday morning, unknown activists painted Jerusalem’s welcome sign with the colors of the gay pride rainbow flag.
Throughout the years, parading through the streets of Jerusalem has become a battlefront between seculars and the ultra-Orthodox community. Ahead of this year’s parade, a group of right-wing extremists protested against Thursday’s event.
Police prepared for Thursday’s event with large forces, although since 2005, when three participants were stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man, Yishai Shlisel, the annual events have been relatively quiet.
In July 2006, the gay pride parade planned for Jerusalem aroused opposition, and many warnings received by police led to the parade being postponed to November.
Marking a decade of gay pride parades in the capital, the organizers at Jerusalem’s Open House decided to walk the original route, from Gan Ha’atzmaut to Gan Hapa’amon.
“We will return to the area where three people were stabbed and we will also mark three years of the murder in Tel Aviv’s Bar Noar” gay center,” said Elinor Sidi, executive director of Jerusalem Open House.
“Jerusalem has changed a lot in the past ten years, following a decade of repeated petitions,” Sidi said, adding that it seems that Jerusalem has accepted its gay community members.
Several members of the congregation volunteered to sit at our table where attendees could stop by and pick up a hand-out about CAI and items such as sunglasses, yo-yos, breath mints, and other goodies graciously sent to us by Size Doesn’t Matter.
The timing for our appearance at this event was perfect as the Rabbinic Assembly’s Committee on Jewish Law released its guidelines for same-sex weddings just weeks before. The vote by that committee was 13-0, with one member abstaining.
Thank you again to all volunteers as well members of the CAI community who stopped by to say “hello”.
Meeting time: 1pm
Meeting place: Corner of Bloor and Church Street
Look for: Kulanu Toronto signs and Magen David Rainbow flags
What to wear: T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, hats, raincoat (if it rains)
What to bring: sunscreen, bottled water, snacks
Parade time: starts 2pm, ends 4pm
After the march: Please return all signs, banners, and flags to our booth at Church/Gloucester