The 16th Jerusalem Pride parade will take place today (2 August) among controversies and security concerns.
The annual march celebrating the LGBTI community began in 2002. The first parade, called Love Without Borders, then became an annual tradition in Jerusalem.
Political authorities will attend Pride
Only three of the seven Jerusalem mayoral candidates were planning on joining the parade in the capital.
MK Rachel Azaria, Ofer Berkovitch, and Yosi Havilio all said they would be marching to show their support for the LGBTI community.
On the other hand, MK Ze’ev Elkin and Deputy Mayor Moshe Lion both said they would not be participating. However, they said they did not condemn the event.
The ultra-Orthodox candidate, Deputy Mayor Yossi Deitsch of the United Torah Judaism faction, refused to comment when asked if he would attend.
Moreover, secular candidate Avi Salman on Thursday repeated his pledge to cancel the parade if elected mayor. Nonetheless, he said he’s not against Pride parades in other cities.
Police are patrolling Jerusalem Pride
Security concerns have been raised over the heavily-guarded annual Jerusalem Pride ahead of the event.
Israel Police has stepped up its security preparations in light of a past tragic stabbing attack.
In 2015, an Orthodox extremist stabbed to death Shira Banki, a 16-year-old who was at the parade with friends.
Furthermore, the situation appears particularly tense this year after Israelians have protested against the law denying surrogacy rights to same-sex couples on 22 July.
Despite Tel Aviv, a famous LGBTI-friendly hub in Israel, hosts one of the most popular parades in the world, Jerusalem is still struggling. Homosexuality, in fact, is still a taboo in the most traditional, religious milieux and the holy city is no exception.