It seems that a black-clad, masked gunman shot indiscriminately at a group of young Gays in Tel Aviv where they were meeting at a private club. The gunman has not yet been apprehended and the motive or perpetrator has not been identified, but it seems to have been a homophobic hate-crime rather than a terrorist.
As though Israelis don't have enough to contend with, now it's Jewish religious extremism, not only Islamic incitement to hatred.
As Guest Columnist, Yehuda Avner wrote in the Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) we should all pray for Jerusalem, because it is in the grip of ultra-orthodox fanatics.They are not only fanatical but also anti-Zionists. Will the State be strong enough to resist them?
The Progressive Judaism community has responded strongly, as below.
Israel Religious Action Center
of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism
August 2, 2009/ 12 Av 5769
On behalf of the Progressive Jewish family in Israel, we would like to express our utter shock over the recent shooting in Tel Aviv. We bow our heads in condolence for these two young victims whose lives were brutally ended on Saturday night. We join in the deep sadness of the family members and the Israeli GLBT community. The fact that this shocking murder cut short an innocent gathering of youth only deepens the pain and shock.
The possibility that this murder is a hate crime heightens our awareness of discrimination in light of the GLBT community overcoming hateful incitement and primitive opinions in Israeli society. Throughout the moments of great achievements in the struggle to prevent intolerance, the GLBT Community in Israel unfortunately knows countless moments of having to cope with the pains of exposing hate, incitement, and outright rejection. This difficult tragedy has intensified the urgent need for a mutual struggle against these nasty and menacing phenomena.
At this difficult time, the Progressive Jewish communities in Israel proudly stand with the members of the GLBT community in Israel. We are here to provide the community with public, educational, and spiritual support. We call upon our Rabbis and members of our community to take part in the memorials to pay homage to those who have been killed and support those who have been wounded. We will be present at the demonstrations that will follow these tragic murders. We hope that this participation will demonstrate our commitment to building a more tolerant society together, promoting respect of all people.
Our hearts go out to the young people killed and wounded on Saturday night and our lips carry a prayer for the days to come that will embody the verses of the prophet Isaiah: “They shall not hurt or destroy anywhere in My holy mountain.” (11:9)
Executive Director, Israel Religious Action Center
Rabbi Gilad Kariv
Director, Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism