One Year After Gay Center Attack, Tel Aviv Studies Berlin Model of Tolerance

A march will be held Saturday night in Tel Aviv to mark the one-year anniversary of a shooting attack in a Tel Aviv gay youth center that left two dead and 13 injured.

Noah Kosharek
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Noah Kosharek

A march will be held Saturday night in Tel Aviv to mark the one-year anniversary of a shooting attack in a Tel Aviv gay youth center that left two dead and 13 injured.

The march will start at the corner of Rothschild and Nahmani streets (near the youth center ) and end at Gan Meir, where a rally will be held with the families of the victims, Nir Katz 26, and Liz Trobishi, 16, the injured and members and counselors of the gay youth center.

Ayala Katz, the mother of Nir Katz, who was a counselor at the center, and chairwoman of Tehila, a support group of parents of members of the gay and transgender community, will speak at the rally.

A memorial in Be'er Sheva in 2009 after a shooting attack at a Tel Aviv gay center Credit: Eyal Toueg

Next month a delegation of youth injured 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.

The visit is sponsored by Maneo and is taking place in cooperation with the Tel Aviv municipality's gay center.

Adir Steiner, Tel Aviv municipality's coordinator of activities for the gay community, says the purpose of the trip is to learn the Berlin model for preventing and dealing with anti-gay violence.

The Berlin model has been adopted by other European cities, like Barcelona, Steiner told Haaretz. It is based on cooperation between Maneo and the authorities, particularly the police, which has two liaison officers to the gay community to deal with homophobic crimes, he said.

Steiner said if the model is adopted in Israel, Hoshen, a group working to change stereotypes about homosexuality and bisexuality and that trains professionals in matters pertaining to the LGBT community, would take the role of Maneo.

"Perhaps if we had started the project a few years ago, we would have documented manifestations of homophobia by the killer, who has not yet been caught, in cooperation with the police, and we might have identified him before the murder. Homophobia, like all hatred, begins small," Steiner said.

The chief of the Berlin police has reportedly invited Israeli police officers to take part in the delegation, particularly the Tel Aviv district youth officer. The Israel Police said they have not yet received an official invitation.

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