Jerusalem officials agree on date for Gay Pride parade

Troy Espera | September 19, 2006

TEL AVIV — After months of struggles and a High Court petition, an agreement was reached to allow a Gay pride parade to be held in Jerusalem on November 10.

According to YNet News, the Jerusalem police, State Prosecution, the Jerusalem Municipality and gay rights groups reached an agreement on the issue Monday during a three-hour talk in a Jerusalem compound.

The Jerusalem Municipality will coordinate the necessary preparation for the event with organizers and the Jerusalem police will oversee security.

Open House and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel petitioned the High Court on September 10, after police failed to answer a letter by the gay advocacy organization offering six different dates on which to hold the parade and asking the police to choose what was most convenient for them.

The six dates that Open House suggested all fell before the High Holy Days. In response to the petition, the police said they were stretched too thin to provide security for the parade until after the Jewish holidays and the monthlong Muslim fast of Ramadan. Noa Satatt, Open House director-general, told YNet News that the group turned to the High Court "to secure the right to freedom of expression for the community in Jerusalem, and in order to receive a final date.�

Open House originally intended to hold an international gay parade in August. However, it called it off, of its own accord, because of the conflict in Lebanon. At the same time, it announced it would hold its regular annual parade on September 21. The police, however, refused to grant a permit for that date on the grounds that it wasn't "suitable," reports The Jerusalem Post.

Ya'acov Litzman of United Torah Judaism said in response that by November 10 the parade would again be delayed, reports The Post.

"The whole world is against it," said Litzman.

According to The Post, right-wing extremist Baruch Marzel said in response, "There will be a holy war against [the parade]. We will do everything to disrupt the parade."

Yitzhak Weiss, a journalist and spokesman for Edah Haredit, the ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist rabbinic organization based in Jerusalem, told The Post that the parade should be prevented in the name of peace.

"Holding the parade in Jerusalem empties the title 'Holy City of the Jews' of all meaning," said Weiss. "Imagine having such a parade in the Vatican or in Mecca. No one is trying to deprive them of their rights or tell them what to do in their own homes." – Issued by Gay Link Content

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