Anti-gay protesters gathered Thursday next to several hundred gay activists preparing to march in the eighth annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade, calling them to "get out of Jerusalem."
The protesters, led by extreme rightist activists Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben Gvir, hoisted banners reading "sick perverts - get out of Jerusalem."
"It is a disease of choice, and a man can change his taste and his ways," Marzel said, adding "when someone has AIDS they tell them not to infect others, so why are these people allowed to march here in Jerusalem and infect us with their disease?"
The parade, which for the first time is expected to march all the way to the Knesset building, marks a year since the deadly shooting at the Tel Aviv Gay youth center, in which two people were killed and 13 were wounded.
Meanwhile, rightists from the United Torah Judaism party organized a "donkeys' parade," expected to gather outside the Supreme Court, under the banner "the marchers who do what beasts do."
Openly gay MK Nitzan Horowitz (New Movement-Meretz) attacked Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Yitzhak Pindros for supporting the rightist protesters against the Gay Pride parade, saying his actions incited violence and hatred against the gay community.
"The words uttered by Pindros, who gets his salary from the state budget, calling the marchers names such as beasts and donkeys, are incitement which leads to heavy violence," Horowitz said in the Knesset ahead of the parade.
"I demand that these types of people show responsibility and understand why such incidents such as the shooting at the Tel Aviv gay youth center occur," he added.
Last week Tel Aviv marked the one-year anniversary of the shooting attack at the Youth center.
Next month a delegation of youth wounded in the shooting will join Tel Aviv municipality officials and possibly Israeli police officials in Berlin to meet with representatives of Maneo, a group that provides support for gay and bisexual men who have been victims of violence, members of the Berlin police, German members of parliament and officials in the Berlin municipality.