Young secular Israelis are leaving Jerusalem in large numbers. But one secular sector that seems to be growing is the LGBT community, and they are looking to make their mark through more that just the annual “Gay Pride” parade.
To that end, they want more money from the Jerusalem Municipality, so that the holy city will become as gay-friendly as Tel Aviv.
And that resulted in a bit of an explosion at a meeting of the Jerusalem City Council on Sunday.
The council members had gathered atop the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City for a festive event marking Jerusalem Day (which was last Friday). During the gathering one of the council’s younger members, Adir Schwartz, proposed measures to “improve the status” of the LGBT community in Jerusalem.
The N12 news portal reports that didn’t sit well with a number of the other council members, including Deputy Mayor Aryeh King.
“If they (LGBTs) are normal, why do they need special budgets?” wondered King.
Council member Yoni Yosef interrupted Schwartz to remind him: “This is a topic that most of the city’s residents are not interested in. Jerusalem is a holy city.”
Mayor Moshe Leon was harshly criticized by opposition council members for not intervening or at least condemning the remarks of his deputy mayor and coalition partners.
Member of Knesset Yorai Lahav-Hertzano fired back at those council members opposed to making Jerusalem more “gay” by stating: “We are not broken, not sick and do not need medical treatment or repair. I expect Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon to condemn the shocking things that were said in his presence by his deputy. Looking forward to marching next week in the pride parade in Jerusalem, which is expected to be the largest in the history of our capital.”
The Jerusalem gay pride parade is scheduled to take place next Thursday, June 1, under heavy security.
When the current government was formed late last year, the head of the far-right Noam party, Avi Maoz, vowed to shut down the Jerusalem pride parade, calling it “a promiscuous abomination” that harms the sanctity of the city.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the time promised that the “Pride Parade in Jerusalem will continue to march,” and that his government would “do nothing to harm the LGBT community.”
The pride parade marches through downtown Jerusalem, provocatively close to ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, while conspicuously avoiding entirely the city’s Muslim neighborhoods.
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