They will die: Violent threats made against Netanya Pride march – The Jerusalem Post

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Violent threats were made against the Netanya Pride march that took place on Friday, including pictures of weapons and signs calling on residents to protest the march, according to the Agudah – The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel.

Pictures of people holding knives, brass knuckles and pepper spray were posted in a WhatsApp group called “Disturbing the Impurity March” ahead of the march. Additionally, signs calling on people to protest the march called on protesters to “remove the abomination from your midst.”

Earlier in the week, signs promoting the Pride march in Netanya were vandalized, with the vandals releasing a video in which they said “there won’t be a pride march here, they will die, their memory will be erased.”

“This incitement and violence must be stopped before it is too late,” said Ran Shalhavi, director-general of the Agudah. “We demand from the mayor not to wait for the next case and to condemn the incitement now. Israel Police must prosecute the criminals and ensure our safety in the incident. LGBTQ+-phobic and extremist voices must not be allowed to prevail.”

“It is a pity that during Pride month, which symbolizes free love, equality and acceptance of the other, the LGBTQ+ community in Netanya should be afraid to walk the streets,” said Nir Chen, coordinator of the Pride in Netanya group. “The Netanya Municipality has not yet taken a stand on the issue or condemned the threatening violence. We would love to hear from the mayor, Miriam Feierberg, what steps will be taken to put an end to LGBTQ+phobia in the city.”

The Netanya Municipality refused to support the Pride event. The municipality has not yet responded to a request for comment by The Jerusalem Post.

The Pride march passed without any violence, with about 300 people participating in the march, according to local media outlet Netanyanet.

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“The march in Netanya is a triumphant proof of the victory of light over darkness. Recent days, which included threats and incitement against the LGBTQ+ community, are proof of why more than 50 marches are needed across the country,” said Hila Peer, a member of the executive board of the Agudah, to the local news site Netanyanet. “It is the right of everyone to be who they are in the place where they live.”

“It is a disgrace that the Netanya Municipality does not fund the march and I very much hope that the incitement and blatant and overt threats that were seen this week, will provoke the municipality to take responsibility for its community, protect it and promote the visibility of the LGBTQ+ community,” added Peer.

Last week, vandals scrawled the words “death to the gays” on an entry sign to the town of Yehud on Tuesday night, vandalizing a heart painted rainbow for LGBTQ+ Pride Month, according to Israeli media.

The incident came the night before a Pride event for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families. The event included a soap bubble show, sock puppet making, a children’s play, face paint and coloring.

Additional Pride events are set for June 22, July 4 and July 21 in Yehud-Monosson. More information is available on the municipality’s Facebook page.

Dozens of Pride events are planned to take place across Israel during June and July. More information on events can be found on the website of the Agudah and on the social media accounts of municipalities and local LGBT organizations. The annual Pride parade in Tel Aviv is set to take place on Friday, June 25.

LGBT-phobic cases were reported once every three hours in 2020 in Israel, as 2,696 new incidents of hate and violence against the LGBT community were reported amid the coronavirus outbreak, a 27% increase compared to 2019, according to an annual report by the Nir Katz Center of the Agudah.

The report stated that it is likely that as awareness of the LGBT community has grown over the years, so has opposition to their presence in different geographical areas, leading to a steady increase in LGBTphobia.

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