Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pride In Jerusalem!! A look at Israel and Gay Rights

In a country dear to my heart - Israel - we have started to see a great emergence of the Jewish gay movement. Today, over 3,000 Israelis marched through the streets of Jerusalem amid protests from the Ultra-Orthodox groups of Israeli society.  From Haaretz.
Anti-gay protesters gathered Thursday next to several hundred gay activists preparing to march in the eighth annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade, calling them to "get out of Jerusalem. The protesters, led by extreme rightist activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir, hoisted banners reading "sick perverts - get out of Jerusalem."
"It is a disease of choice, and a man can change his taste and his ways," Marzel said, adding "when someone has AIDS they tell them not to infect others, so why are these people allowed to march here in Jerusalem and infect us with their disease?"
 Meanwhile, rightists from the United Torah Judaism party organized a "donkeys' parade," expected to gather outside the Supreme Court, under the banner "the marchers who do what beasts do."
 This my friends is not a "new" phenomena, for though Israel is the most progressive of the Middle Eastern Nations, and has some great laws benefiting same-sex couples; hatred against the Israeli Gay community still runs high, because the the Orthodox minority in the country. From the Associated Press...
The Jerusalem parade has been marred by violence in the past. In 2005, an Orthodox Jewish protester stabbed three marchers. Organizers said the fear of attack still keeps many people at home.
The LGBT community in Israel is not phased though, as the more than 3,000 paraders showed. I hope one day that Israel - even with its heavily religious minority, becomes a leader in the free world of gay rights - they are on their way.

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