Fire-Fighters' Strike Douses Gay Post-March Rally

After rejecting three anti-gay-pride march petitions, the Supreme Court finally revoked permission for the homosexuals' post-march rally.

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Hillel Fendel,

Hareidi-religious
Hareidi-religious

After rejecting three anti-gay-pride march petitions, the Supreme Court was finally forced to revoke permission for the homosexuals' post-march rally.

The contrast in Jerusalem was vivid late Thursday afternoon, as on one end of the city, 3,000 religious Jews held a prayer rally, while 2-3 kilometers away, 2,000 others were showing off their sexual preferences.

The Israel Broadcasting Authority's Channel One television news showed, for many consecutive minutes, a split screen with both events - a live depiction of the struggle for the spirit of Jerusalem, the world's holiest city.

The religious Jews recited Psalms and special Tikun HaKlali and other prayers, while the homo-lesbian marchers marched with signs supporting homosexuality.

Media reports made much of the fact that 7,000 policemen and women were required to protect the 2,000 marchers. The parade ended, mostly uneventfully, after an hour. At one point, the march was stopped for several minutes after a disturbance caused by two men - dressed as marchers - who started insulting the gay parade participants.

A dramatic two days in the Supreme Court - Wednesday and Thursday - ended with what both sides called a victory. Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupoliansky, Trade Minister Eli Yishai and others filed suits against holding the parade in Jerusalem, but the Court rejected all of them, ruling essentially that "freedom of expression" overrides - in this case - the offense caused to public sensitivities.

Today, on the day of the parade, a fourth, last-minute, suit was filed, claiming that because of the firefighters' strike and the resulting lack of Fire Department approval, the parade could not be held. The petitioners said that their own request to hold a parade of animals yesterday - equating bestiality with homosexuality - was turned down for a similar reason, namely, the lack of a necessary permit from the Agriculture Ministry.

Though the Jerusalem Open House (JOH), which organized the gay march, tried to get fire trucks from other sources, including the Jewish National Fund, they were unsuccessful. The Court then ruled that the march - a 500-meter affair along King David St. - could be held, but the "gay happening" to be held afterwards at Liberty Bell Park must be called off.

Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel, who filed the suit, expressed their satisfaction, saying it had "ruined the party" and promising to continue their struggle until such marches cease.

Roads Closed, Some Arrests
Roads were closed in various areas of the city in deference to the march and the prayer rallies, and traffic jams began as early as the mid-morning hours.

Twelve anti-parade protestors were arrested, police found one home-made bomb, and a hareidi-religious man was arrested as he tried to enter the Temple Mount, saying he wished to convert to Islam because the authorities had allowed the parade to take place.

Reflections
One hareidi-religious representative explained on Channel Two television that if "we had wanted, it's clear we could have stopped the march by bringing out a million people. But we chose to take a more educational approach - and instead, the other side, by stubbornly insisting, at whatever cost, on provoking most of the city's sensibilities, became the 'non-enlightened' ones..."

A Jerusalem woman named Rebecca, who helped organize a petition that collected tens of thousands of signatures against last year's homosexual parade, said at the time, "I want to make it clear that this is not a homophobic issue; if the Mardi Gras, a heterosexual event, were to be held here, we would object with the same vociferousness. The reason is because Jerusalem is the spiritual dimension of the world; it is a spiritual jewel to the world, and we don't want it tarnished... We want to show that the majority of the people in this city do not want sexuality paraded around without modesty or dignity. In addition, homosexuality in particular is not something that we want to see advocated in our holy city."

Andrew Friedman, writing for Ynet last year, said he asked JOH head Noa Sattah why her organization had not routed the parade through the Muslim and Christian quarters of Jerualem. "We don’t want to offend them [the Arabs]," she explained, to which Friedman responded, “But many Jews are also offended by the march. Seems to me that means you are careful not to offend Arab residents, but feel it is your right to offend Jewish ones.” Friedman wrote that Sattah's "silence in response was deafening."