Two people were killed and 13 injured on Saturday night when a masked man opened fire in a refuge for gay people in Tel Aviv. The attack has stunned the gay community there, leading to a mass movement both in the city and on the Net.
A 17-year-old girl and a 26-year-old counsellor were killed when the gunman opened fire. He then fled on foot and has yet to be identified by police. If he targeted the gay community specifically as is thought, the incident will be Israel's worst ever homophobic attack.
Alon Rom is a Time Out reporter in Tel Aviv. He participated in the march that took place after the shooting.
We feel that people are responding with the gay community, that we are not alone. People know the importance of the gay community for Tel Aviv, and its enormous economic contribution. The gay community in Tel Aviv is the biggest in Israel.
For politicians, the tendency is usually not to identify themselves with the community but Tzipi Livni, who attended the rally on Sunday, is acting quite differently and showing her support. There hasn't been much support from the Likud however although the minister of education was at one of the funerals and came to the scene of the shooting just after the crime. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't even use the term ‘gay' or ‘lesbian'. And then you have the ridiculous allegations from members of the Shas party who blamed an earthquake and bird flu on homosexuals a few years ago".
In front of the centre just after the shooting. Published August 2 by Lizzy the Lezzy.
Gathering in Tel Aviv the day after. Published August 2 by Lizzy the Lezzy.
Ruth Solwyn is a film maker and web designer in Tel Aviv.
On the contrary, Jerusalem is much more religious and thus conservative in terms of sexuality. The gay community there tends to keep a low profile. They have pride marches but often have problems with the Orthodox Jews who do not like it at all.
Around three years ago I created cartoon character Lizzy the Lezzy because I thought there wasn't enough lesbian-friendly content by lesbians and for lesbians. I receive a lot encouragement from gays and lesbians but I also get some nasty comments from homophobic people and recently received a death threat."
An extract from Livni’s speech: “We need to give strength to children who have to tell their parents ‘I’m gay’ or ‘I’m a lesbian’. This day should also give strength to all members of the gay community for them to live their lives”. Published August 2 by "MrYuvikk"