Hate reared its ugly head in Israel Saturday as a masked gunman pulled out an automatic pistol to kill three young people and wound ten at the Café Noir, a Tel Aviv LGBT community center for teenagers. Gay activist Danny Zak said the attack was probably incited by Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Shas Party, whose leader has blamed homosexual behavior for earthquakes and diseases.
Gay rights activist Mike Hamel also criticized religion-driven hatred of homosexuals. "Beyond the pain, the frustration and the anger, we are facing a situation in which the incitement to hate creates an environment that allows this to happen," he said.
News portal Ynet quoted lawmaker Nissim Ze'ev of the Shas party as saying in 2007: "These people (gays) are dangerous and we must keep an eye on them . . . We must set up special teams of psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers who will help them return to a normal life, just like in a drug rehabilitation center." In 2005, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed three participants of a gay pride parade in Jerusalem, for which he is now serving twelve years in prison.
Photo of murdered Iraeli victims: gay Nir Katz, 26, and straight Liz Trubeshi, 16
The two victims killed at the scene (an unidentified third died in the hospital), Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trubeshi, 16, were laid to rest on Sunday. Katz, 26, who served as a counselor at the center for the past three years, lived with his partner of four years in Givatayim. Liz Trubeshi, 16, the second victim who was reportedly straight but had a lot of LGBT friends, was buried Sunday at a cemetery in Holon.
While police combed the area to hunt the attacker, hundreds of members of the homosexual community and their supporters held an impromptu vigil after hearing of the shooting.
Tel Aviv Israeli forensic officer takes a picture of one of the bodies, Saturday, Aug.1, 2009 photo
"Currently most of the responses we are getting from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities are calls for action and protests. They are deeply in shock because of these brutal murders, and several spontaneous demonstrations have been held last night and today," said Roy Barak, the chief technical officer of the GoGay Media Group.
Tel Aviv Israelis comfort each other at the scene of the shooting at a gay community house in Tel Aviv late Saturday photo
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack at the start of Sunday morning's weekly Cabinet meeting. “I strongly condemn the shocking murders that were perpetrated last night in Tel Aviv,” he said. “This morning I spoke with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch. I fully back the police in their search to find the murderer. We will bring him to justice and treat him with the utmost severity of the law. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all Israelis that ours is a democratic state. We are a nation of law. Ours is a country built on tolerance, and we must respect all people as they are.”
Although police are treating the killings as a hate crime and have swarmed the area around the center looking for the shooter, who was reportedly dressed in black, the killer still remained at large by press time on Monday.
Photo of Tel Aviv gay march for those killed Saturday at teenage gay community center
COMMENTARY: Religious fundamentalists the world over continue to foment hate unabated, inciting violence and murder as their flocks blindly attempt to deal with homosexuality, something their narrow minds don’t wish to understand or sympathize with. Ignorance without empathy often results in murder. If there is indeed a Heaven and Hell, these so-called leaders will spend Eternity paying for their hate with the same pain they have inflicted on gays here on earth. And it’s not pretty. Not by a long shot!
Watch this Video News Story about the first 2 victims killed in Tel Aviv:
View the Spontaneous Protest after LGBT Killings in Tel Aviv YouTube Video:
In the below video:
The Hebrew speaker says, in part:
"I came here to show my support for those who live in the proud gay community and are grieving over their dead. I hope that this terrible day will also give you strength and mark a turning point. This day should give children the strength to tell their parents 'I'm gay'. This day should give parents the strength to love their children for who they are. This day should give the strength to make a change within Israeli society, so that it will be proud of its gay community."
Watch this Video as Hundreds of Israelis Gather in Tel Aviv to Support Gays After Murders (in Hebrew):