With police just recently altering a Pride Parade route in one Israeli city, leading to planners to cancel its own event (Who Canceled An Israeli City's First Pride Parade? More Than 2,000 Protest), it was left to be seen what would occur at Jerusalem Pride this year. We feel the LGBT community of Jerusalem is proud of their police force. Here's why.
One year after the murder of teenager Shira Banki, at least 30 suspects were arrested for attempting to disrupt Thursday’s annual Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, which attracted a record 25,000 participants amid unprecedented security.
Following Banki’s death at the hands of religious zealot Yishai Schlissel last July, hundreds of heavily-armed police officers from a breadth of units, aided by a helicopter, cracked down on any disruptions, seizing two knives, police said.
Holding a rainbow-colored gay pride flag, Omer Barsheshet, 16, said he traveled from Ashdod with his boyfriend to Jerusalem for the parade to honor Banki’s memory.
“Last year Shira was murdered, and it’s super important for me to be in this place just to support the gay community,” he said. “I am a little nervous, but the security here is f—– crazy, so I feel safe.”
For his part, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who was roundly condemned by left-wing politicians for not marching in the parade due to the offended sensibilities of his largely right-wing and haredi constituency, said he “understood the pain and criticism” directed at him.
“I have chosen a different way of honoring the memory of Shira z"l, who was a sweet, young girl murdered because of a boundless hatred,” Barkat said before the parade. “The Jerusalem District Commander of the Israeli Police and I paid our respects to Shira by laying a wreath at the site where her life was cut short.”
Barkat added: “I hope, with all my heart, that we come together, on this day, against every manifestation of incitement, hatred, and violence, and that we unite around the right of every individual and community to exercise their freedom of expression, regardless of gender, race, or religion.” – jpost.com
For more of the marchers' and protesters' stories, head over to jpost.com.
You can see some of the police presence in the video below from this year's Jerusalem Pride posted by The Times of Israel.