Jerusalem Municipality Agrees to Permit Gay Parade in November

The Jerusalem municipality agreed to have the World Pride gay parade in the capital on Nov. 10, thus avoiding a threatened Supreme Court action by the parade's sponsors.

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Hana Levi Julian and Hillel Fendel, | updated: 18:25

The agreement was reached after three hours of negotiations between the State Prosecutor’s Office, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Jerusalem municipality, city police (which will provide security), and members of the Open House gay organization.

Knesset and City Council members, religious councils from all three major faiths in Jerusalem – Jewish, Muslim and Christian – and international Jewish organizations have fought for months against the event, which was originally slated for August.

One of the fiercest opponents of the mammoth ‘World Pride’ gay parade is Jerusalem City Councilwoman and National Religious Party member Mina Fenton, who helped gather tens of thousands of signatures on a petition against the event.

Fenton told reporters after collecting more than 100,000 signatures in July that she was sure it would "clarify to the Supreme Court the majority opinion, as well as the dangers and degradation involved in holding the parade.”

Nonetheless, the Jerusalem municipality and police caved in to the pressure of facing a suit by the organization in Supreme Court. Efforts by Fenton and numerous others ultimately failed to prevent what the petition called “a provocation and a declared mockery of all that is precious and sacred in the Holy city of Jerusalem in the eyes of the entire world."

The World Pride gay parade is now officially scheduled to be held in Jerusalem on November 10. The municipality will handle the procedural arrangements.

In an announcement afterwards, Fenton said she "notes with pain that the Supreme Court did not even debate the essential claim that the Gay Pride march would be a grave offense to most of the city's inhabitants [and] a blow at the uniqueness of Jerusalem, the Holy City." She also noted that most Jews, Christians and Moslems oppose the parade.

Following the withdrawal of the court suit by the Open House because of the issuance of a permit to hold the parade, the Supreme Court did conduct one discussion on the matter, reaching a compromise on the time the "festivities" must end in Liberty Bell Park: 45 minutes before the onset of the Sabbath.

"The holiness of the Jewish Nation and of the city of Jerusalem are no less important than the holiness of the Sabbath," Fenton remarked with bitterness. "It is a shame and disgrace that this painful topic, which touches upon the very soul of the Jewish nation, should descend to such depths of a mere technical debate."

She also had strong criticism of the police for ultimately giving in to the gay parade organizers: "The police know very well about the tremendous agitation that exists against the parade - and that's why they delayed giving the original permit last month. By agreeing now to have the parade, the police are fanning this unrest."

"It is clear to all," Fenton warned, "that hundreds of thousands of people will go out to demonstrate against having this parade in Jerusalem on Friday, Nov. 10. It is too bad that the Israeli Police, even though it knows all this, did not prevent it from happening."

Baruch Marzel of Hevron, who volunteered to testify in court against holding the parade, also warned that the parade could lead to violence.

It is not clear whether the rest of the week-long activities originally planned by Open House have been approved. Those activities were to have included a day of activities in the Knesset, which some MK’s had asked Speaker Dalia Itzik to cancel, and a concluding event the organization’s website calls " ‘Good Jerusalem Children’ – the greatest youth party in Israel.”