On June 21, about 2,000 people gathered in Jerusalem to take part in the Gay Pride parade. They marched, sang and celebrated, despite protesters who threw stones at police and set garbage bins on fire in advance of the event.
What is sad is that if it wasn’t for the overwhelming presence of thousands of security who were on hand to protect marchers, there probably would have been casualties.
In 2005, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish protester stabbed and wounded three marchers. This year, an Orthodox Jewish man was detained by Israeli police after they found a homemade bomb in a bag he was carrying.
Despite calls by leading rabbis not to participate in violent protests against the marchers, some have chosen to ignore this advice.
Instead, the focus has been taken away from the fact that Israel is a welcoming, progressive, democratic society and the light has been shone on the intolerant, hateful minority.
I don’t buy the argument that having the parade in one of the holiest cities in the world is a provocation. There should be no city in the world where it’s not OK to be and celebrate who you are.
I just find it so ironic that some of the potentially violent protests are coming from those who have dedicated their lives to God, to studying Torah, to being good Jews. But where in the Torah does it say that it is OK to harm another for any reason? Judaism is a religion with laws that can be debated ad nauseam. But whether it is acceptable to be violent towards another simply because he/she lives life differently should never be up for debate.