by Rex Wockner
International News Briefs
Around 20,000 people joined Tel Aviv’s 11th gay pride parade June 12.
The march ended with a beach “wedding” of five gay couples. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Israel.
Some top rabbis had urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to try to ban the parade. They called it an abomination.
A few religious right-wingers picketed the march, which was paid for by the city government.
Tel Aviv is more secular than Jerusalem, where the pride parade routinely leads large numbers of religious folks to wail and gnash.
Last year’s parade in Jerusalem featured 3,000 marchers and 2,000 cops to protect them. They walked all of four blocks.
In 2007, the Jerusalem parade traveled about 500 meters before ultra-Orthodox protesters shut it down, despite the presence of 8,000 police officers. Prior to the parade, police arrested a man with a bomb. The post-parade rally was canceled because striking firefighters refused to provide a required firetruck.
In 2005, a counterdemontrator stabbed three marchers at Jerusalem’s march and later was convicted of attempted murder. The victims’ injuries were not serious.