Donkeys to protest Gay Pride Parade?
While Jerusalem deputy mayor plans protest connoting 'beastly act', MKs reject invitation to parade
Ronen Medzini • Ynet
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Itzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism) has asked police to enable him to hold a donkey parade at the same time as the Gay Pride Parade scheduled for Thursday and in protest against that event.
Similar events have been held in the past by right-wing activists and various religious figures.
Meanwhile, only one Knesset member of the dozens who were invited to take part in the Pride Parade has confirmed his attendance.
Pindrus' office noted that if necessary they would petition the High Court to allow them to hold their parade.
"Doesn't a donkey have a right to be a donkey?" Pindrus said to Ynet. "This is a democratic state, so we will not accept the claim that donkeys have no right to march. There are donkeys who are proud of their donkeyness and want to have a parade."
A compromise was finally reached whereby the protesters would be allowed to march with cardboard figures instead of donkeys. The organizers stressed that they have not given up on their initial intention and would try to secure a permit for the donkeys on Thursday again.
The municipality was anxious to emphasize that the deputy mayor's intentions were unknown to them and that this was a completely private initiative, unconnected to the municipality.
Pindrus said that though the protest did not gain municipality support, it nonetheless represents a wide section of the population.
"This expresses what we think – that this is a beastly act," he said. "There is no logical explanation to the fact that this year they have extended the route and I don't understand why the police allowed it."
The police meanwhile completed preparations for the Pride Parade which this year marks one year since a deadly shooting occurred at a gay youth center in Tel Aviv. The shooter has not yet been apprehended.
Ayala Katz, mother of Nir Katz, who was murdered in the shooting attack, has approached all government ministers and several MKs asking them to speak at a rally to be held near the Knesset building after the Pride Parade.
However, the politicians, who at the time were quick to express their shock at the heinous murder and support of the gay community, decided to refrain from participating in the event. All but one, MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), failed to accept Katz's invitation.
What exactly is keeping the ministers from attending the rally? The education minister's office stated that schedule constraints prevent him from attending the event and noted that a "a letter has been prepared to be read in the rally as a token of support of the campaign for tolerance and equality."
Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog's office stated that the minister "works on many levels to support the gay community and is not required to prove this by attending the Pride Parade."
"It's embarrassing, especially when it comes to ministers who all year round make various statements and promises but fail to show up to the main event outside the Knesset dealing with the legal-political aspects," MK Horowitz told Ynet.
Police to deploy heavily
Some 1,500 police officers will be on hand, backed up by Border Guards, security guards and others. The event will be broadcast live on Ynet.
According to organizers, some 3,000 people are expected to come to Jerusalem to take part. They will gather at 4:30 pm in Independence Park and begin marching at around 6 pm through the city's streets to the Knesset compound, where a vigil will be held at 8 pm.
Parking in streets along the parade route will be forbidden from the morning until 10 pm. Vehicles violating this order will be towed to the Gan Hapa'amon parking lot.
Roads near the planned route will also be closed, including parts of King George Street, JNF Street, and Ben Zvi Street, as well as streets crossing Rambam Street.
Police also said that weapons would not be permitted near the route. Traffic is expected to be heavy, and the public is requested to avoid the city center during the hours of the parade.
[Hat Tip: CS.]