22,000 March in Jerusalem Pride Parade Jerusalem Under Heavy Security

22 people were arrested, one was carrying a knife; police are taking steps to prevent a repeat of the 2015 murder of a teenage girl at the parade

Marchers in the 2017 LGBT Pride parade in Jerusalem
Marchers in the 2017 LGBT Pride parade in Jerusalem Olivier Fitoussi

Some 22,000 participants attended the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance Thursday evening, highlighting the LGBT community’s ties to religion. Hundreds of police and security guards safeguarded the marchers, two years after teenager Shira Banki was murdered at the Prid parade in the capital. This year, the Israel Police arrested 22 people at the march, one of whom was carrying a knife.

Participants were to be surrounded at all times by several security circles, and everyone joining the parade was to be inspected and tagged. Police also said they would use security cameras and balloons for surveillance and supervision of the event. They summoned rightist activists classified as “under watch” for clarification and warning talks. A 33-year-old man was removed from Jerusalem on Thursday afternoon after police judged a Facebook post he had made as potentially threatening the march's security.

Olivier Fitoussi

A small group of a few dozen protestors from the far-right, anti-assimilationist group Lehava protested the march, chanting, "It's not pride; it's an abomination." 

The parade began with a congregation at Liberty Bell Park at 6 P.M., from where the participants were to march along Plumer, Keren Hayesod, King George, Hillel and Menashe Ben Yisrael streets, all in the center of town. The parade was to end with a large event at Independence Park. The parade’s host was supposed to be Israeli singer and gay rights activist Amir Fryszer Guttman, who drowned last week.

Marchers at the 2017 Jerusalem Pride Parade
Olivier Fitoussi

Radical rightist activists have asked to hold a protest at the same time as the parade in Bloomfield Park, opposite Liberty Bell Park.

Marchers at the 2017 Jerusalem Pride Parade
Olivier Fitoussi