Tel Aviv gay community mourns murdered youth, month after attack
At Meir Park memorial, some teenagers who were wounded in the shooting attack take the stage to share their memories and pain.
A month after a masked gunman stormed a Tel Aviv gay youth center and killed two people, hundreds gathered at the city's official pride center to mourn their deaths and condemn the hatred.
The perpetrator of the attack that killed Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trobishi, 16, has still not been found. Thirteen other people were wounded in the incident, before the gunman fled the scene.
Some of those victims came to the memorial in Meir Park on Saturday night, and relayed their experience from that fateful night. Katz's sister and boyfriend were also among those present at the memorial, alongside leaders of Tel Aviv's gay community.
"The youth center was more than a home," said one teenager. "It was a place to stop hiding - a place where you didn't have to lie or be ashamed."
Another teen recalled the night of the shooting. "I remember everything: the music that was playing in the background, the surprise at [the gunman's] entrance and the shock when he began to fire. My friend pulled me into a hiding spot; he is still lying in the hospital."
Many of the teenagers in attendance spoke about the fear that comes with participating in community events as well as the difficult memories that still have not left them.
Chen Langer, who was injured in the shooting, attended the memorial on crutches. "This is the time to do something," he said, addressing the crowd. "It's important that we never forget what happened."
"The most important thing is how we take this energy and channel it into action. This will be the test for the community and its leaders," said Adir Steiner, Tel Aviv municipality's coordinator for gay events.
Last week, the manager of the youth center, Shaul Asa-el Gannon, opened a temporary center in an alternate location. He noted that there were more teenagers in attendance at the center's events than there were before the shooting.
This week, the gay and lesbian youth center will return to its original location on Nachmani Street - the site of the attack - where it will remain under police and security surveillance.
Thus far, police have been unsuccessful in finding the gunman and bringing him to justice. Investigators from the Tel Aviv Police have been in contact with the gay community in an effort to find the perpetrator.