Jerusalem's only gay bar closes its doors

Monday, November 12, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

The owner of the only gay nightclub in the Israeli capital decided this week to call it quits apparently due to the establishment's failure to turn a large enough profit.

The Shushan nightclub was as much a political and ideological statement as it was a business. But owner Saar Netanel told Ha'aretz that "with all due respect to ideology, ideology does not pay the rent or municipal taxes."

Netanel insisted that Shushan had plenty of patrons, including individuals from the traditionally anti-homosexual Orthodox Jewish and Muslim Arab communities. However, downtown Jerusalem is home to a large number of thriving bars and nightclubs, so it was difficult to understand how one that was purportedly flush with clientele could not remain in business.

Netanel noted that it is difficult for one to flaunt his or her homosexuality in Jerusalem, where two-thirds of the population is comprised of the aforementioned Orthodox and Muslim communities, and many of the rest maintain a more conservative or traditional outlook than those in other parts of the country.

Earlier this year, Jerusalem's tiny gay and lesbian community forced itself upon the rest of the city by holding an outlandish "gay pride" parade through the streets of the holy city. Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders - including Evangelical Christian leaders abroad - decried what they called the desecration of Jerusalem and urged the Israeli authorities to not allow the parade.

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