a different side of Israel

Tag: Gay

Hate Crime in Tel Aviv

It pains us to write this, but it seems Israel was the victim of a hate crime last night. A shooter, dressed in black and armed with a pistol, burst into a center for gay youth and opened fire. He killed 2, critically injured another 2 who are now fighting for their lives, while the rest of the injured are in hospitals near central Tel Aviv. It appears it was well planned, the alleged murderer perpetrating the attack on what was supposed to be a secret meeting point for gay youth looking for mutual communal support, and quickly escaping. The shooter is still at large.

Nir Katz

The dead are Nir Katz, 26, (left) and Liz Troubishi, 17. The meeting place was for 14-21-year-olds looking for a safe house, hang out and listen to music. Many of the injured are scared of being identified, and are worried they’ll be revealed as homosexuals before they are ready to come out to their relatives. Meanwhile, the attack is being condemned widely by all sides of the political spectrum, being termed a terror attack by the Likud’s Silvan Shalom, and Netanyahu vowing to bring the perpetrator to justice. Shas also came out with a statement condemning the attack.

Nitzan Horovitz

Nevertheless, there are those that have made their share of counter incitement to these sickening murders. Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, who is a homosexual, had this to say: “I very much hope this is not the result of comments made by public figures and Knesset members. They need to understand that some people will take action.”

He was referring to a comment made last year by former Shas MK Shlomo Benizri – recently sentenced to four years in jail for corruption – who proposed that the Knesset find a way to prohibit homosexuality, and save the State trouble in dealing with earthquakes, intimating that the homosexual act is a cause for the natural disasters.

Shlomo Benizri

Notwithstanding the fact that Benizri’s comment was idiotic and embarrassing for religious Judaism, to equate it with incitement to murder is just as idiotic and embarrassing. Incitement to murder is what you hear in places like Gaza and Jenin, where Sheiks go up publicly to give a sermon eplicitly about how everyone should kill as many Jews as people and liberate Palestine, or distribute videos about how to construct a suicide bomb vest, or praising suicide terrorist murderers That’s incitement to murder. Making a distasteful, offensive comment is not. To blame Benizri’s comment for these murders is like blaming the movie The Matrix for the Columbine High massacre of 1999. If I were MK Horovitz, I would, especially now, do my best to conduct a dialogue with Shas about this whole thing instead of yelling at them. The same goes vice versa. It’s easy for both sides to yell at each other, especially now. It’s not so easy to start talking.

But that’s the only way Israeli society will be able to heal itself after this unique terror attack. May God comfort the mourners.

Terror strikes Tel Aviv Gay Community Center

RobberyNot only is political or nationalistic terrorism a problem, but that against certain interest groups too. A long gunman wearing a mask burst into a central Tel Aviv gay community center late Saturday night, firing an automatic weapon at the crowd of young people who had gathered there. The result left two persons dead and at least 12 more wounded; four of them critically. The center, located on Nahmani Street, off Ahad HaAm, was a well known meeting place for young homosexuals and lesbians, as well as for those who weren’t quite sure what their actual sexual “orientation” really was, but needed a place to discover themselves. Most of the victims of the shooting were teenagers between 16 and 18. The two killed included a male counselor, Yaniv Katz (26), and a young woman, Liz Tarbishi (17).

The attack sent shock waves throughout the entire Tel Aviv entertainment sectors, as many thought this was a Palestinian instigated terror attack. It was an act of terror, all right, but one of a different form and apparently meant to target the city’s homosexual and lesbian communities, considered to be the largest and most open in the country – if not the entire Middle East. So far the lone gunman has not been apprehended, who witnesses said was “dressed in black”.

Police Chief Inspector General David Cohen called the attack “a most serious act” and one in which his police force will utilize all its resources to capture the perpetrator
and any possible accomplices. Israel Gay Youth organization chairman Yaniv Weizman said that the victims “were teenagers to came to center from all parts of the country to receive help and talk to each concerning their apprehensions regarding being gay.” He added that people coming to the center, which also served as a social center, thought that this was a safe place to meet, and was not meant to be pub or nightclub.

“Today, however, someone sent a message that members of the gay community in Tel Aviv are not safe. Someone knew what was going on here”, Weizman added.

The last serious act concerning gays in Israel occurred in Jerusalem in 2005 when two Gay Pride marchers were stabbed by a member of Jerusalem’s Haredi ultra orthodox community.

No Gays or Nukes in Iran

Many were ‘delighted’ to hear Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declare that “there are no homosexuals in Iran” at his appearance before a selected audience at New York’s Columbia University of Monday, September 24. Many more were even more thrilled to hear him say before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that “the nuclear issue is now a closed subject and will only be discussed within the framework of the IAEA”. All this is good to know, and makes everyone who hasn’t been following this absurdity more apt to eat their Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes without burping. I think that the most reassuring statement yet by the visiting Iranian leader was in regards to his grand visions of the future, Some of these ‘visions’ include a demise of Western powers, especially the United States; and the creation of an Israel-less Palestine, to be brought about by “democratic referendum” .

With all this “good news”, why are a lot of people, even the leaders of countries like France and Germany so worried? I’m not referring to this boogeyman’s usual enemies like the U.S. and Israel. I’m referring to former friends of the Islamic Republic like France and Germany, both of whose leaders used their forum opportunity before the General Assembly to speak out against the dangers of Iran becoming a nuclear power. Why this new stance by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy? This is something that had previous only been espoused by people such as U.S. President George Bush and Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair (especially following the Iranian ‘detainment’ of several of Her Majesty’s naval personnel).

And why was Columbia University President Lee Bollinger so “frank” when introducing his special guest as “a cruel and petty dictator”? Perhaps people are finally starting to wake up in regards to the potential danger of this man who doesn’t seem to give a ‘didly squat’ concerning reactions to his ideas for a new world order. As he later said himself, when addressing the world body: “the age of the empires are over”. I presume that by ’empires’ he was referring to his adversaries, and not to his own country, formerly known as Persia, and once one of the greatest empires in the world. In fact, the Persian Empire once threatened to overwhelm the entire known world, and was only held back by the combined efforts of 300 of Grecian King Leonidas’ personal warriors, and the victory of the Grecian naval fleet over the Persians at Thermopylae.

All that was a long time ago, however, and now a new religious imperial threat, in the form of militant Islam, threatens to once again overwhelm much of the modern “Known World”.

It is truly amazing that a demigod such as Ahmadinejad can come to a place like New York and express his views within the combined aspects of free speech and diplomatic immunity. It’s the policy of diplomatic immunity that has caused so many problems in the past, especially during the Cold War between the West and the Soviet Union. Diplomatic immunity has allowed people traveling with diplomatic passports to get away with virtually anything – even murder. As long as two countries are not in an actual state of war with one another, their representatives can freely come and go as they please under the guise of diplomatic immunity.

Besides proudly saying that homosexuality does not exist in his country (or heterosexuality either, unless people are married); he also said that all groups living in Iran, including women and minorities such as Jews have democratic freedoms and “proportional representation” in parliament.

With all this “good news”, why are so many so anxious for Mr. Ahmadinejad and his entourage to go back to where they came from? It’s early Autumn in New York; but from a political point of view for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it might as well be the dead of winter.

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