March May Be Moved to Tel Aviv

A hareidi-religious Hebrew site, Hadrei Hareidim, reports that the strong opposition to the gay-pride parade in Jerusalem has had an effect, and that the parade is likely to be moved to Tel Aviv.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 14:25

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter (Kadima), who is responsible for the police, is expected to convene a meeting with top police officials and decide on the parade's future. Police sources confirmed to Ynet that no decision has yet been made, but it appears that the march will be relocated to Tel Aviv.

The coalition of opposition to the march comprises Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders, but it appears that only Jewish opposition will remain if it is held in Tel Aviv. Many Jewish leaders have said that though Jerusalem is the Holy City, Tel Aviv is part of the Holy Land and therefore such a parade may not be held anywhere in its borders.

Gay pride parades around the world are often characterized by partial or total nudity, and various forms of flaunting of sexual orientation.

The police say that at issue are the security considerations, in light of the immense size of the parade, the many hundreds of thousands who say they will come out to protest it, and the accompanying threats of violence. At a smaller gay parade in Jerusalem last year, three homosexuals were stabbed by a Jewish protestor.

Justice Minister Chaim Ramon (Kadima, formerly of Labor) has said that he leans towards supporting moving the parade to Tel Aviv, given the opposition of the leaders of the three religions.

Opposition to the gay pride march, which is scheduled to be held in the framework of a week-long International World Pride event in Israel next month, has been expressed from many quarters. The Knesset Interior Committee opposed it last week; committee member MK Yitzchak Levy (NRP) presented his colleagues with a poll showing that 85% of the Jerusalem public, including 63% of those defining themselves as secular, oppose it.

Arab MK Sheikh Ibrahim Tzartzour said that a homosexual parade in Jerusalem could lead to a violent Muslim response. Rabbi Menachem Fruman of Tekoa agreed.

Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas Party, had very harsh words in his weekly sermon last night: "G-d preserves His people in the merit of [their] modesty, holiness and purity... The Torah commands not to commit the abominations of the Canaanites - such as men marrying men, women marrying women... They were evil people, abominable... They bring these evil people from all over the world to Jerusalem to defile it. All of us as one, we will all protest this with all our might. On the day they have it - we will make a demonstration, and everyone will be there..."

Others who openly oppose the parade include Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger, Rabbo Shalom Yosef Elyashiv, the vast majority of the Jerusalem City Council, dozens of Knesset Members, and many more. Rabbi Amar wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, asking him to help thwart the event, in the "hope that the combination of religious leaders' protests will prevent the evil schemers from.. destroying the ways of mankind."

Efforts are being made by the organizers to entice non-homosexuals to join their community as well. The Gay Pride event includes a "Youth Day" at the Knesset on Monday, Aug. 7; its promotional literature states,
"Youth on the map! After this day, it will be impossible to ignore us. Everyone will understand and remember for a long, long time that the proud [Hebrew gaieh] youth has what to be proud of... Ages 15-25 - boys, girls, lesbians, homos, trans, bi, those who are hesitating [emphasis added], and friends, come to take part in this exciting youth day, which will be held in the Knesset... We will meet lots of pals from all over Israel and the world, and we'll sit together to work out important subject that are very relevant to our daily lives... And at the end of the day: 'Good Jerusalem Children' -- the greatest youth party in Israel..."

The Jonah organization - dedicated to educating the world-wide Jewish community about the prevention, intervention, and healing of the underlying issues causing same-sex attractions - lists three other organizations that offer similar help: Narth, People Can Change, and
International Healing Foundation.