”Love Always Wins:” Israelis Unite Against Homophobia and Hatred

6 August 2015

Like so many others, we were shocked by the horrific events at this year’s Jerusalem Gay Pride March. Six marchers were stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man. On Sunday, 16 year old Shira Banki, one of the injured, died from her wounds.

Just two days after the attack, NIF helped organize a major demonstration in Jerusalem’s Zion Square calling on authorities to take firm action against homophobia and xenophobia. Under the banner “Love Always Wins,” thousands gathered to grieve and to demand action from the government to rein in Jewish extremists.

The New Israel Fund has been a longtime advocate for equality for gay Israelis. We seed funded gay rights organizations, and we have pressed for progress as part of our civil rights advocacy.

At the rally, President Rivlin gave a powerful speech. “These flames, which are consuming all of us, cannot be extinguished with weak condemnations [by politicians]. These flames cannot be extinguished with solidarity rallies. Not even with this rally,” the president said.

“These flames cannot be extinguished with posts on Facebook and statements in the media. These flames cannot be extinguished with repression, denial and disregard. Incitement, ridicule, frivolity, laxity and arrogance of the heart cannot extinguish the fire, but only allow it to burn stronger, with fervor, to spread in all directions, and permeate all walks of life.”

“We must be thorough and clear; from the educational system, to those who enforce the law, through to the leadership of the people and the country. We must put out the flames, the incitement, before they destroy us all. We will not be zealots. We will not be bullies. We will not become an anarchy.”

The New Israel Fund stands with the President in his call for strong action against homophobia and all forms of incitement and violence.