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Jerusalem pride goes ahead despite delays

Jerusalem pride goes ahead despite delays

Hundreds of people marched through the Israeli capital yesterday night for Jerusalem Pride despite two delays due to the war in Gaza.

Different media reports said 500-2,000 people took part in the 13th edition of the event, although numbers were down on previous years when several thousand people attended.

The event is usually held in July but had to be postponed twice because of fighting in the Gaza strip. A large police force escorted the marchers because previous events have been protested by ultra-Orthodox groups, but there were no incidents this year.

Elinor Sidi, organizer and executive director of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, told Ynetnews website, ‘The parade was postponed because of the operation in Gaza, and now we’re happy that there is calm and I’m here to march and to tell the rest of the cities to march as well.

‘We are an integral part of the fabric of this city. The police co-operated and they are more attentive to our needs. I want to convey a message that the Gay Pride Parade has become routine in the city and that’s what we’re aiming for.’

Jerusalem Pride is smaller and more political than the more exuberant event in Tel Aviv, which was attended by more than 100,000 people in June.

Noa Luzzati, an 18-year-old lesbian from the city of Modi’in, told the Jerusalem Post, ‘Here people don’t accept gay people as they do in Tel Aviv.

‘One of the reasons is that the government is based here and many of the religious people are homophobic. So I don’t feel safe here.’

Earlier this month Rabbi Ephraim Holtzberg, who has organized protests against previous prides, threatened another demonstration.

He told Arutz Sheva radio station, ‘[Former Jerusalem Mayor Ehud] Olmert started this trend 11 years ago, and unfortunately every time this parade took place disaster befell the people of Israel.

‘We know that more than 90 percent of the residents of the city dislike this parade. This is a holy city and it does not fit anywhere and certainly not in Jerusalem.’