Friday, August 7, 2009

Update on Murders at Tel Aviv GLBT Center

More fallout from last weekend's murders in the Tel Aviv at the office of the Israel Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association (GLBT Israel). The two murder victims were 16 year-old Liz Trubeshi and Nir Katz, 26, a counselor at the club.

Nir had infinite love and respect for humankind,” eulogized his mother.

In the immediate aftermath of the killings, thousands rallied in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, while 500 demonstrated on Sunday evening in Jerusalem’s Zion Square. Prime Minister Netanyahu visited the center yesterday, meeting with representatives of the community - a courageous political move. No Prime Minister has reached out to this community in such a manner in the past. On Saturday night, there will be a public memorial to the victims, and President Peres is expected to speak.

In Israel, politicians across the political spectrum have strongly denounced the shooting, and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel expressed shock and outrage, calling it "an unthinkable, vile crime." In a statement published Sunday the Rabbinate said that, "When Moses saw a Jew beating another Jew he called him evil. This is all the more true when a Jew murders a Jew."

See more information at the website of the New Israel Fund - You can also find information on the site about vigils in different communities around the US.

From the Israeli press:

End the silence: The whole of Israeli society must speak up in wake of gay center massacre / Eyal Gross,7340,L-3756024,00.html

The Normalcy Test / Merav Michaeli
There is no place for accepting those who are different out of "compassion" or "generosity." One must simply accept the other because each of us is different. But we are equal just the same. Simply because we were born equal. And different. There is no insurance policy for a life without problems, but the only way to improve the chances for such a life is to learn to live as well as possible - all people with their own individual qualities, and all of us together in all our variety.

We won't turn into Iran: Education Minister Gideon Saar vows to protect freedom in wake of gay center attack
“We need to be cautious before police conclude the investigation. However, one way or another, waiting for the case to be solved cannot be a pretext for evading a moral obligation. For Israeli society, this is an opportunity to clearly and unequivocally define its commitment to freedom and tolerance. For public officials and leaders, this is the time to pledge that we will protect Israel’s character and future as a free society. Because wherever a person is attacked or humiliated because of his lifestyle, choices, tendencies, or indecision, it is not only the freedom and dignity of that person that are being undermined.”

Rabbis condemn anti-gay shooting: Chief Rabbinate says appalled at 'unthinkable, vile crime' that left two dead. Gay Orthodox rabbi calls on public leaders to denounce attack
"When Moses saw a Jew beating another Jew he called him evil. This is all the more true when a Jew murders a Jew."

MK on anti-gay shooting: Society must come out of the closet: Lawmakers say Saturday's deadly attack at Tel Aviv gay center manifestation of society's 'racist attitude' toward minority groups, including Arabs, foreign workers,7340,L-3756477,00.html
Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) "The incident hurt not only the gay community but Israeli society as a whole," Horowitz continued, "It hurt every citizen's right to live in Israel according to his or her beliefs and values."

Here's a statement of Leaders of LGBT Jewish Synagogues & Organizations (Nehirim) in Response to the Attack on the LGBT Youth Center in Tel Aviv on August 1, 2009:

On behalf of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) synagogues and Jewish organizations, we wish to express our deep sadness, outrage, and commitment in the wake of the horrible attack on the "Bar No'ar" LGBT youth drop-in center last week in Tel Aviv.

We are first and foremost saddened by this terrible attack on innocent young people, in a place devoted to their safety and security. Our prayers are with the families of Nir Katz z"l, 26, and Liz Trobishi z"l, 16, as well as with the many now recovering from their injuries in Israeli hospitals. This pigu'a -- this terrorist attack -- was against all of us, Jewish and non-Jewish, straight and gay, who cherish the values of diversity, democracy, and pluralism. But we in the LGBT Jewish community feel this pain especially, for we know that it was an attack on us specifically as well, and that it could have been any of our organizations, any of our members, supporters, or loved ones, who were targeted.

We are also outraged. While we do not yet know the identity or motivations behind this attack, we do know that it occurred in the context of months -- indeed, years -- of vitriolic, incendiary rhetoric directed against the LGBT community in Israel. Tragically, some of the harshest words against us were spoken by some of our Jewish spiritual leaders. Whether these words motivated a hate crime, or whether they motivated an act of self-hatred or personal hatred, we know from experience that racist, sexist, or homophobic speech begets racist, sexist, or homophobic violence. We therefore condemn not only the attack itself but also the climate of hatred that some political and religious leaders helped create.

Yet we are also committed: committed to a just society, to dialogue with those with whom we disagree, and to the right of everyone to act in the image of God and love one another. We will not stop or slow our advocacy for full legal equality, in the United States and Israel, for LGBT people. We will not be deterred from building support groups and safe spaces, congregations and community centers, social programs and spiritual havens, of the very type that was attacked last week. And most of all, we will not allow this attack to strip us of our humanity, and our capacity to love. We know that it is love that matters, not the gender or sex of one's beloved, and we know that our tradition teaches us the innate humanity of every person, a Divine quality most visible in our capacity to love.

At this time of mourning, we affirm all of these -- our sadness, our outrage, and our commitment -- and stand with Israel's people and its government as it works to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. The blood of the victims cries out from the Earth, mixes with the salt of our tears, and inspires us to pursue justice, seek the holy, and walk in the pathways of love.


Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, New York, NY
Jay Michaelson, Nehirim: GLBT Jewish Culture & Spirituality
Rabbi Joshua Lesser, Congregation Bet Haverim
Rabbi Lisa Edwards, Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim, Los Angeles, CA
Congregation Etz Chaim, Wilton Manors, FL
Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Congregation Kol Ami, West Hollywood, CA
Rabbi Lawrence Edwards, Congregation Or Chadash, Chicago, IL
Rabbi Camille Shira Angel, Congregation Shaar Zahav, San Francisco, CA
Joel Kushner, Institute for Judaism and Sexual Orientation, Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion
Gregg Drinkwater, Jewish Mosaic: The National Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
Seth Krosner, J*Pride of San Diego, San Diego, CA
Asher Gellis, JQ International
Nicole Nussbaum, Kulanu, Toronto, Ontario
LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay and the LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties.
Rebecca Wax, The Rainbow Center, Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Benay Lappe, SVARA, Chicago, IL
Howard Solomon, World Congress of GLBT Jews

CONTACT: Jay Michaelson, Executive Director 917.974.9815
To donate to Israeli gay youth organizations, please visit

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