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Thousands march on 9th anniversary of Tel Aviv gay youth center shooting

Marking deadly 2009 attack on Bar Noar, community laments lack of progress on gay rights, says not much has changed

Thousands attend a ceremony to mark nine years since the 2009 shooting at the Bar Noar LGBT center, in Tel Aviv on August 11, 2018. (Flash90)
Thousands attend a ceremony to mark nine years since the 2009 shooting at the Bar Noar LGBT center, in Tel Aviv on August 11, 2018. (Flash90)

Some 2,000 young people marched in Tel Aviv on Saturday evening to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the deadly shooting at the city’s Bar Noar gay youth center and demand an end to discrimination against the LGBT community.

The 2009 attack was carried out by a lone gunman who killed two young people and wounded dozens more. The shooter was never caught. Many in the LGBT community consider the shooting a hate crime while police have speculated that it was motivated by a personal dispute rather than antipathy toward gays.

The organizers of Saturday’s march issued a statement bemoaning the lack of progress on LGBT rights made since the shooting.

“Nine years ago an armed man entered the Bar Noar center and murdered boys and girls only because they were different. Nine years have passed and not much has changed. In recent weeks there has been a public outcry against the inequality and discrimination of the LGBT community in Israel,”the statement said. “We are calling to put a stop to the violence towards the LGBT community.”

Israel has led many Western nations in legally establishing equality for gay members of the armed services, extending financial rights to same-sex partners, promoting LGBT tourism and supporting gays in public life. It has lagged, however, in issues of personal and family status because marriage and related issues are largely dominated by the fervently Orthodox Chief Rabbinate and its political supporters.

Last month, new legislation extended surrogacy rights to single women and women unable to become pregnant but did not grant the same rights to single fathers and gay couples.

Nitay Nedivi, a 19-year-old marcher doing his national service at the LGBT youth organization Iggy, told Ynet that the State of Israel “discriminates against the LGBT community.”

“The law makes it very difficult for people from a transgender community to undergo medical procedures, the connection between religion and state prohibits us from getting married, there is systematic discrimination toward same-sex couples,” he said. “The education system has almost no content on sex, gender, or anything else that deviates from their norm.”

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