Hundreds of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, queer and straight Jerusalemites marched through the streets of the capital Thursday during the city’s 13th annual Gay Pride parade, which had been postponed twice in light of the Israel Defense Forces’ 50-day offensive in the Gaza Strip.
The march, which was sponsored by the Jerusalem Open House — the most prominent LGBTQ activist organization in the capital — began at 5 p.m. in Jerusalem’s Liberty Bell Park, and ended in Independence Park.
Hundreds of police and Border Police officers secured the parade. The event, which traditionally boasts a noticeably less flamboyant crowd than its Tel Aviv counterpart, was attended by significantly fewer people than in previous years, activists said.
Some marchers contended that the low turnout was due to a controversial July 20 Facebook post published by Open House executive director Elinor Sidi, in which she called to burn down both the Knesset and Israel’s military headquarters, as well as for soldiers to disobey orders.
The post outraged some members of the LGBTQ community, who, in turn, used Facebook to call for her to resign. Citizens outside of the gay community were also disturbed by the post; Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman filed a police complaint against Sidi, accusing her of inciting violence against the state.
Sidi apologized shortly after, and the board members of Open House released their own statement, in which they threw their support behind their director.
Debra Kamin contributed to this report.