Israel’s main gay pride parade will reportedly take place this year in Jerusalem, rather than in Tel Aviv where it is traditionally held.
Although Jerusalem is both Israel’s capital and its largest city, its gay pride parade is much smaller than then one in Tel Aviv, which has a large LGBT community and prides itself on its tolerant environment.
The initiative to hold the country’s main gay pride parade in Jerusalem this year was pushed for by the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance in order to protest for equal rights for the LGBT community, Channel 2 reported.
In July 2015, the Jerusalem pride parade was the scene of a deadly stabbing spree, raising the event’s profile and leading to a mauch larger showing the next year.
The decision to hold the main parade in Jerusalem rather than Tel Aviv was reportedly not coordinated with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who decided not to attend the city’s parade last year in order to refrain from offendig the capital’s ultra-Orthodox population.
Unlike in years past, the parades in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv will occur on consecutive days and will take place under the headline “Protest in Jerusalem — celebrate in Tel Aviv,” according to Channel 2.
A representative from the Jerusalem Open House told Channel 2 that “we want to move the focus to Jerusalem and to turn the capital into the main stage,” while adding that “that this is a very important step and we will preserve it as a secret in order that it not be thwarted.”
An unnamed source familiar with the plan also told Channel 2 that “the initiative strengthens the protest aspect for the community” and is not meant to “harm the tradition of the March in Tel Aviv.”
During the 2015 gay pride parade in Jerusalem, 16-year-old Shira Banki was murdered and several others injured by Yishai Schlissel. Schlissel’s attack at the pride parade came just weeks after the ultra-Orthodox extremist was let out of prison, where he had served a 10-year sentence for a similar — albeit nonfatal — attack at the 2005 pride parade in which he stabbed three people.