Police arrest Beit Shemesh teen after mob attack on Jerusalem Pride participants

Two men were assaulted at bus station after heavily secured march took place without incident; other suspects also seen lighting pride flag on fire at park

An Israeli Border Police guard stands guard as people draped in rainbow flags march during the 21st annual Jerusalem Pride Parade in Jerusalem on June 1, 2023. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)
An Israeli Border Police guard stands guard as people draped in rainbow flags march during the 21st annual Jerusalem Pride Parade in Jerusalem on June 1, 2023. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

Police on Friday arrested a teen who allegedly assaulted at least one member of the LGBTQ community in Jerusalem following the city’s heavily secured pride parade a day earlier.

The assault was one of two incidents targeting the community that took place shortly after the parade ended on Thursday.

At the bus station, a mob of young men who were filmed shouting, “Go home! Go back to Tel Aviv you sons of bitches!” and “I just have one question: What’s it like to take it up the a**?” toward at least two parade participants.

One victim was struck in the face and sustained minor injuries.

The altercation was caught on camera by one of the victims, whose phone was then smashed by the assailants.

Officers managed to extract the footage of the incident from the device and used it to identify one of the suspects, a 17-year-old Beit Shemesh resident.

He was slated to be brought before a judge for a remand hearing later Friday during which police were set to request he not be released on bail.

An estimated 30,000 people turned out for the annual parade Thursday, with some 2,000 police and riot police officers on hand.

Participants called for tolerance toward the LGBTQ community and its right to equality, while protesting homophobic members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as well as the currently frozen judicial overhaul program.

The event passed smoothly without any security incidents, though several dozen far-right activists did gather outside the confines of the rally to protest the march.

The march was the scene of two stabbing attacks in 2005 and again in 2015 by the same ultra-Orthodox assailant. A teen girl was killed in the second attack.

People march during the 21st annual Jerusalem Pride Parade in Jerusalem on June 1, 2023. (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

The parade is still opposed by some in the capital, which skews to the right politically and is home to large ultra-Orthodox communities. The hours following the parade can be fraught, with participants and anti-gay extremists no longer separated by police barricades.

At the city’s Independence Park, near where the parade wraps up, three teens were filmed setting a pride flag on fire after the parade Thursday.

This was also filmed by a member of the LGBTQ community who told the Walla news site afterward that the incident immediately extinguished the feeling of optimism that they felt after the uplifting pride parade.

“Seeing the hatred in their eyes and understanding that there are people here who simply hate our very existence — because of such people, you understand why we must continue marching in the parade each year,” he said.

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