The Israeli LGBT community does not remain silent: In view of recent homophobic statements by ministers and MKs from the Jewish Home and Israel Beiteinu parties and the strikedown of bills designed to give equal rights to members of the LGBT community, there will be a vigil Saturday (December 14) in Tel Aviv in Habima Square, attended by activists and members of the LGBT community.
This event was spontaneously initiated by activists from the community who decided to speak out against slander from Israeli ministers. “Recently, LGBT people, citizens of Israel, are under attack by Jewish Home and Israel Beiteinu and members of the Israeli government,” reads a Facebook post published yesterday (Tuesday). “ Laws designed to regulate equal rights of LGBT citizens of Israel are crashing one after the other, including very important laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“It’s time to go outside, to initiate a blue-and-white made in Israel ‘Stonewall.’ We are not second or third class citizens, it’s time to go out and fight for our rights. Come along with LGBT flags.”
Yair Hochner, artistic director of the TLV LGBT International Film Festival and one of the initiators of the vigil, told Mako Pride: “It’s time to stop being quiet, it’s time to go out. People post statuses on Facebook and articles against the position of Israel on this, but all these don’t affect the situation. We have to fight for our rights and sitting at the computer won’t deliver the goods. We should learn from the events of Stonewall .”
According to the chairman of the Aguda, Shai Doitsh: “There is no reason for the Israeli government not to recognize the parents of a child just because they are from the LGBT community, not to recognize a relationship just because the spouses or partners are LGBT, no reason not to prevent discrimination against LGBT by law. It’s not a matter of religion and state, it’s a matter of citizens of a state. This state is a state of nationality and not a state of religion and we do not want to be like Iran. Certain members of the coalition, such as the Jewish Home, joined the Orthodox religious perception of coercion. They act against the will of the majority of people , the majority of MKs , and most parties – in order to impose their views . This demonstration, which came from the grassroots, is evidence that the community and its friends won’t let those factions veto the will of the people. ”
Until the demonstration in Habima Square, members of the community have switched their profile pictures in social media to the sign of equality in blue and white. The idea was thought up by Yonatan Vanunu, a nightlife personality and a veteran community activist, who asked graphic designer Tal Spiegel to create the symbol. “Homosexuality exists not only in bed,” wrote Vanunu on his Facebook page. “It’s a relationship ,a family, a community . Surprisingly, my own country defines me according to my sexual orientation, defines me as disqualified, unequal to my brothers or friends. Though now I’m single, I too want one day to get married and start a family in Israel.
“During the discussions in the U.S. on equal marriage rights, there was an international campaign which occurred on Facebook. It was started by an American human rights organization and like wildfire it swept worldwide. Thousands of people have changed their profile pictures to the symbol of equality rights, in colors that correspond with the gay community. Following this campaign, the U.S. approved same-sex marriage – as did several other countries .”
“Today I change my profile picture to the international symbol of equality rights – painted in blue and white. Because this time I fight for equality rights in my own country. If you support equality too, change your profile pic also and share the icon with as many people as possible. We CAN make a difference. ”