Two Years After Fatal Shooting, Tel Aviv Gay Youth Club Faces Closure

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Two years after the murder of a counselor and teenage girl at Tel Aviv's Bar Noar gay center, the youth club might have to suspend its weekly evening programming due to financial problems. Management says it's deliberating whether to hold a final evening of activities Friday.

The club on Nahmani Street near Ahad Ha'am Street was the scene of a still-unsolved shooting in which counselor Nir Katz and 16-year-old Liz Trubishi were killed.

Yehuda Poliker performing at a fundraising event for the embattled gay club this week.Credit: Ofer Vaknin

It has been a meeting place for gay and lesbian youth from around the country on Saturday evenings, attracting about 60 to 80 young people each week. Staff members also help teenagers deal with their sexual identities and with the difficulties in disclosing their sexual orientation if they choose to do so.

Since the shooting, a security guard has been stationed at the building during events. Many staff and young people have said they would not visit the center without this arrangement.

In the past month there have been four cases of vandalism, including damage to air conditioners and security cameras, said the facility's director, Shaul Ganon. He said the center needs NIS 1,200 a month to carry on, adding that programming has been sustained largely through the volunteer efforts of the counselors themselves as the center receives almost no donations.

"Bar Noar is like my second home," said counselor Mor Rosen, who attended the club when she was 14. "I grew up there. I know the children's situation," she said. Rosen said she hoped the authorities, whether nationally or locally, would help prevent the club from being shut down.

"Up to now, we have depended on fantastic people, private individuals who have opened their hearts and pockets to contribute. And that's basically how we were able to exist. It's not enough anymore," she said.

"Since the attack," she added, "we've become a pilgrimage site," providing young people with an attentive ear, love and support. "We give them a protected, secure space, which also provides emotional protection."

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