Police launched an investigation on Saturday after graffiti celebrating the late racist rabbi Meir Kahane was found on a wall outside the Tel Aviv LGBTQ Community Center.
The slogan “Kahane lives” was emblazoned on an external wall and window of the building, located on Aluf Albert Mandler Street in Tel Aviv. The phrase is a show of support for Kahane, a one-time member of Knesset for the racist Kach party he founded and who was assassinated at a New York City hotel in November 1990 by an Egyptian-American jihadist.
Later on Saturday, the word Kahane was struck out, replaced with the popular catchphrase “the nation of Israel lives.”
The Aguda Association for LGBTQ Equality said the incident was a “warning sign” for future violent attacks against the community.
“LGBT-phobia is already running wild,” the organization said in a statement. “Last week, we saw a four percent increase in reports of LGBT-phobia in the public space and at demonstrations with community members who faced curses, spitting, threats, burning of pride flags and even physical violence.”
גרפיטי של כהנא חי רוסס על קירות המרכז הגאה בשרונה וגם על מסעדה בתל אביב כפי שצילמתי בחמישי בערב pic.twitter.com/ENjNoyyYKq
— Bar Peleg (@bar_peleg) April 1, 2023
“It’s the government’s responsibility to condemn this hatred and to act before it’s too late to promise complete personal security to members of the LGBT community,” the organization said.
The LGBTQ community has repeatedly voiced its concerns over the hardline coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s now-paused judicial overhaul plan, fearing that a significantly weakened judicial system will leave their community members vulnerable to discrimination.
In a report published in March, the Aguda said it had recorded 3,300 incidents of hate against the LGBTQ community in 2022, an 11% increase compared to 2021. The report did not provide details on the nature of those attacks.
Nearly half the reported incidents took place in Tel Aviv and the central Israel region. Nearly 20% occurred in Jerusalem and surrounding areas, the report said.