Victim seriously wounded; brother is main suspect

Arab lawmakers condemn stabbing outside LGBT youth hostel

‘A hate crime like this against a youth because of his sexual identity is unacceptable,’ Balad MK says as police continue hunt for suspect

The scene of a stabbing near the Beit Dror LGBT youth hostel in Tel Aviv on July 26, 2019. (Screen capture/Channel 13)
The scene of a stabbing near the Beit Dror LGBT youth hostel in Tel Aviv on July 26, 2019. (Screen capture/Channel 13)

Arab lawmakers condemned a stabbing Friday outside an LGBT youth hostel in Tel Aviv that left a teenager seriously wounded, as police continued to search for the suspect.

The victim, a 16-year-old originally from the Arab city of Tamra, had recently moved to the Beit Dror center after reportedly coming under pressure from family members to be religious.

The hostel said before collapsing after he was stabbed, the teenager identified the assailant as his brother. Police launched a manhunt for the suspect, though no arrests had been made as of Saturday morning.

“We can’t accept any type of violence in our society, definitely not hate crimes,” Hadash party leader Ayman Odeh wrote on Twitter.

“The struggle against violence and crime in our society is an emergency situation and is our top priority,” he added.

Like Odeh, other lawmakers linked the stabbing to general violence among Arab Israelis, but explicitly denounced attacks against the LGBT community.

“This shocking incident exposed that gender violence within the family, sometimes murderous, which is generally directed at women, is also directed at LGBT youth who wish to live in liberty,” Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman tweeted.

She called for combating “this murderous hate at both an institutional level and also within our society.”

MK Aida Touma-Sliman leads a Status of Women and Gender Equality Committee meeting at the Knesset on November 21, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Members of the Ta’al and Balad parties also condemned the stabbing when contacted by the Ynet news site.

“Fighting violence and crime in Arab society is our top priority and a hate crime like this against a youth because of his sexual identity is unacceptable, like any other crime,” Balad MK Mtanes Shihadeh told Ynet.

Meretz MK Issawi Frej warned against what he said was growing rhetoric anti-LGBT rhetoric in Israel.

“Words have meaning, even words that are multiplying in the public sphere against the LGBT community. We must as a society maintain respectful discourse and fight any manifestation of hatred based on sexual orientation, nationality, skin color or any other definition,” he wrote on Twitter.

Meretz party chairman Nitzan Horowitz, center, attends a protest of the LGBTQ community in Tel Aviv, July 14, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Frej’s condemnation joined that of a number of LGBT rights groups and Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, Israel’s first ever openly gay party head.

Yael Sinai, who manages Beit Dror, called the stabbing a hate crime and expressed concern for the hostel’s residents.

“This is a hate crime against the [LGBT] community. The attack was directed at this young man because of his gender identity and sexual orientation. We are hurting and sorry but we’ll continue to be an open house for all youth,” she told Ynet.

The stabbing victim, who was not been named, remained in serious but stable condition after undergoing surgery at Ichilov hospital.

In February, the LGBT rights organization Aguda released a report finding a 54 percent jump in the number of reported homophobic incidents in 2018 over the previous year.

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