Senior police officials met earlier Sunday to decide whether to issue a permit allowing gay marchers to parade through the capital. Fearing life-threatening violence at the event by protestors, the police recommended to cancel the parade. Hareidi religious Jews have been holding violent demonstrations against the parade every night for the past week.

Mazuz [pictured above] rejected the police recommendation to ban the parade. "We have to make a decision," he told police. "Either we give in to threats or we deal with them. We have to exert efforts to find an equation so that it can be secured," he said. Mazuz ordered the police to work together with representatives of the Open House gay pride organization to find a way to hold the event "with a modest character."

Police Chief Moshe Karadi estimates that securing the parade will require a massive enlistment of 12,000 policemen this Friday. He says that it will weaken the polices ability to carry out its duties in other parts of the country.

The attorney general maintained the right of free expression and the right to demonstrate took precedence over the danger of violent protests at the event. He offered as a solution to the impasse a change in the parade route, out of the areas occupied by Orthodox Jewish and Muslim residents.

The matter will now go to the High Court of Justice for a final ruling on whether the city will indeed be forced to allow the event. Two petitions demanding that the parade be cancelled have been filed with the court.

Demonstrations against the parade were held every night last week, and once again Sunday evening thousands of hareidi religious men blocked the streets in the capital, hurling rocks, setting trash cans on fire and attacking police officers. Four officers and a photographer for Haaretz news service were lightly wounded in the clashes. Some 25 rioters were arrested. Police dispersed the crowds with mounted forces and water hoses.

In the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak, hareidi religious protestors tried to block traffic, but were prevented from doing so by a strong showing of the police.

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