LGBT Solidarity Rally Rabin Square

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Thousands gathered in solidarity tonight at Rabin Square to honor the victims of last Saturday’s shooting attack at the gay center on Nachmani Street in Tel Aviv, and to affirm that the community is indeed “continuing in pride”. Between twenty to seventy thousand people of all ages filled the square and surrounding streets, rainbow flags waving, while community leaders and artists addressed the crowds from the stage.

The evening opened with a moment of silence in memory of Nir Katz (26), a counselor at the center, and Liz Trobishi (17), both killed in the attack. Nir’s sister, Chen, told the crowd, “Nir’s love will live on with us forever.” The evening was presided over by Gal Uchovsky, filmmaker and leader in the gay community.

 

 

 

Uri Gil, one of the teenagers injured during the attack, said, “No psychopath will send me back into the closet…its time that schools will realize that homo isn’t a curse, and then I’ll know that this country belongs to all of us.” Chen Langer, a counselor who was injured, spoke movingly from his wheelchair, saying, “It’s been a bad week…I will never forget the look in the eyes of those who were murdered…we are an injured society, a society that needs a solution, we need social peace.” Langer closed with an image of the center (the meeting place was called “youth bar”), saying that it is the only bar he knows of where “the only drinks served were orange juice and soda, and the toast was served alongside a salad garnished with two small flags side by side: the Israeli flag and the flag of freedom (the rainbow flag).”

City council member Yaniv Weizman said, “I came out of the closet 11 years ago while a captain in the IDF, 9 years ago I founded IGY (Israeli Gay Youth Organization) and tonight is the first time my mother is in the audience.” Weizman introduced President Shimon Peres, who opened his speech to the crowd by invoking the Biblical commandment: “we are the people of ‘Thou shalt not kill.” Peres said that “the shots fired at the gay and lesbian community hit us all, as human beings, as Jews, as Israelis. Criminals will not set the agenda for our lives. Every person has the right to be different and proud. Israel will not rest until this criminal is brought to justice. Their blood will cry out from our land and this murder will not be erased from our hearts. Be strong and have courage.”

Musician Corinne Alal took the stage after Peres, opening with her well-known “We are a Rare Species.”

Image credit: Elizur Reuveni

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