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by BTL Staff
TEL AVIV – An estimated 70,000 people gathered at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square on Aug. 8 to mourn the deaths of Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Troubishi, 16, who were killed in an Aug. 1 shooting by an unidentified masked man at a gay center in the city. Eleven others were injured.
Present at the Aug. 8 vigil was Israeli President Shimon Peres, who spoke out against hate violence and for gay rights at the event. “This heinous murder of youth and teenagers is an act that a civilized nation cannot tolerate,” President Peres said. “Murder and hate are two of the most appalling crimes against society. I call the police to do its utmost to catch this vile murderer. I call all the citizens of Israel to denounce this crime.”
Other events were held within several cities in Israel, as well as in other locations across the globe.
Thousands of people marched in Tel Aviv the night of the shooting, and demonstrations in response to the attack were held in several Israeli cities on Aug. 2 in Jerusalem, Haifa and Beersheba.
Still, the largest outpouring of support and grief was seen in Tel Aviv. “We will continue offering the LGBT community our support,” said Mayor Ron Huldai, “as we see Tel Aviv (as) a home where any man or woman can live according to their beliefs.”
“We will not step back into the dark closet, we shall not be terrorized,” said openly gay Member of the Knesset Nitzan Horowitz, according to a translation provided by the Israeli Consulate General in New York City. “We will carry on marching in Tel Aviv, in Jerusalem and in every other city or town. … Years of incitement from politicians, Rabbis and public officials have materialized into this tragedy. We shall not forgive nor forget them.”
Other demonstrations and vigils were held in Montreal, London, New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Buenos Aires and other places, including one on Monday, Aug. 10 at Michigan’s Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield.
In the U.S., Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said: “I am shocked and horrified by the pernicious violence that occurred in Tel Aviv over the weekend. To cut short the lives of two innocent youths is an unconscionable tragedy. The Jewish and LGBT communities are, sadly, united in a shared history of and experience with prejudice. The Human Rights Campaign stands in solidarity with the families of the victims and all those in Israel and around the world grieving from this blow to basic humanity.”
Quotes and assistance from national correspondent Rex Wockner.