HRC Blog

Pride Parade Takes Political Turn in Jerusalem

This post and photographs are from former HRC intern Zachary A. Bennett, currently a freelance photographer living in Israel. More on Zak at www.zakbennett.com. The annual Gay Pride parade in downtown Jerusalem took over the streets yesterday. This year was slightly different than the years past, holding a much more “March on Washington-esque” attitude. Gone were the floats and most of the wild outfits from last year. Yesterday’s march was purely political and commemorative of last year’s Tel Aviv gay and lesbian center massacre. For the first time, the march ended directly in front of the Knesset (Israeli parliament), showing that the gay community in Jerusalem and throughout Israel wants legislation passed, this year, that ensures them the rights all other citizens of Israel enjoy. With roughly 1500 Israeli Defense Forces and police officers escorting the march throughout the streets of Jerusalem, the parade remained very peaceful, with very little interference from organized groups of ultra-orthodox Jews. When the parade reached its finish in front of the Knesset building, music artists and speakers spoke to the crowd. Today’s march was held on the one-year anniversary of the Tel Aviv gay and lesbian center massacre, which left two dead and 15 wounded. Some of the speakers included the mother of one victim and one of the 15 survivors. The Jerusalem pride parade has a very upsetting past that is not as prevalent in the United States. Five years ago, an ultra-orthodox Jewish man stabbed three people during the parade. Every year, rocks are thrown by counter-demonstrators and ultra-orthodox Haredis march in opposition to the pride parade.

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