The Pride Parade in the Negev town of Netivot was canceled last week after an anonymous threat of violence was made against the organizers. The decision to cancel came after the family of one of the organizers received a bullet in the mail.
NIF grantee The Aguda – Israel’s LGBT Task Force said, “Today, for the first time, together with our activists, we have regretfully been forced to make the decision to cancel the event for tolerance and pride in Netivot out of fear for the lives of the event’s organizers. A live bullet was sent to the mother of one of the organizers and the message of incitement was clear.”
Many activists reacted to the news by attempting to organize a protest against violence and homophobia, but were thwarted by local police who refused to allow the planned protest to take place. The Aguda held an emergency meeting following these developments where they strategized ways to combat violence and incitement against the LGBTQ community.
Even as this is a dark chapter for the community of Netivot, acceptance of LGBTQ activists and support for the community’s rights has been on the rise over the last few years in Israel. The tireless work of LGBTQ activists and their allies has yielded significant — if often symbolic — results. This year, for example, the Israel Postal Company will issue a postage stamp in honor of Israel’s LGBTQ community, a move which would have been unimaginable just a decade ago.
The activists and staff of The Aguda, remain unfazed in their fight for LGBTQ rights, saying, “We won’t be afraid, we won’t remain salient and we won’t give up because the members of the LGBTQ community deserve to feel safe and equal whether they live in Netivot, Ramat Gan, or Afula.”