Gay Center Shooting Is Reminder of Israel's Hollow Tolerance

There are those who laid the groundwork and hardened hearts, and now they are first to denounce.

It may very well be that the footsteps will lead to other dark corners, but hate crimes have occurred in the past and will happen in the future. Perhaps the murderer burst forth from within, but the evil winds continue to swirl from without.

Hate crimes - if this was indeed a hate crime - invariably surprise us anew even though they shouldn't. There are those who laid the groundwork and hardened hearts, and now they are the first to denounce. "This is not what we intended," they say in regret, "not for it to get this far, anyway." Very quickly they will return to their evil ways. This is how they are, always aiming low. And on Tisha B'Av they will once again preach high and mighty against baseless hate, just as they did just four days ago. The Rabin assassination should not have surprised anyone, as the murders two days ago shouldn't have. When eating from the tree of envy and prejudice, a tree that was indiscriminately sprayed with a torrent of bullets, the poison seeps into the veins and causes cancer.

As currently worded, Israeli law dealing with sexual tendencies and preferences is good, progressive legislation. It was not so progressive just 20 years ago. As recently as the 1980s, and not 2,000 years ago, did Shulamit Aloni and I attempt to remove from the books a law that included a clause comparing homosexuality to bestiality. Just 35 MKs agreed to support our bill, and the prime minister at the time, Menachem Begin, delivered a vicious speech that made a mockery of us. Shulamit Aloni, he said, shows concern for animals, and the Knesset erupted in laughter. Israel has come a long way from Begin to Bibi - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who yesterday opened the cabinet session by condemning phobias, every phobia, and speaking in favor of tolerance, whoever the killer might be.

In time, the law changed for the better more than the lawmakers did. It's a fact that just one political party has sent gay representatives to the Knesset. While MKs such as Yael Dayan stayed abreast of the dilemmas facing the community with an immeasurable devotion and empathy, the parties themselves were not especially proud of their gay members. They kept them in the closet, even after the members themselves came out of it. First there was Marcia Freedman, who served when Meretz was still Ratz. Then came Prof. Uzi Even, who made an impressive mark during his short term in parliament. Now we have Nitzan Horowitz, also from Meretz, who is here to serve his colleagues and many "others."

Every time we hear filthy denunciations of the lifestyle and behavior of the gay and lesbian community, we get the sneaky suspicion that the denouncer is haunted by a demon. What does that person have to hide; what is he hiding in his Jewish skeleton's closet? How does one explain, without relying on in-depth psychology, such an impassioned, sickening lashing out against human beings as if they were animals? How does one explain the horrifying disasters that have befallen us and are blamed on men and women whose sin is their attraction to their own sex?

There have been instances in this country and elsewhere of those who espouse family values as if this were their top priority. Yet they themselves have been caught in the company of prostitutes. There have also been those who swore to be faithful to one woman, and one woman only, and were later discovered naked in the bed of a young assistant. And there are those who spewed venom and hurled insults against homosexuals only to be later seen in some dark alley or public restroom while seeking out any available prey. This is an obsession. This is its end.

A properly drafted law does not guarantee a properly run society. Gay pride marches continue to stir evil inclinations, and only by a miracle have the recent ones ended without a knife being used. Only in Tel Aviv do members of the community feel at home. Is this why the blow was delivered here of all places?

I recently read in the papers about an officer who was promoted to deputy battalion commander in his reserve unit, an exemplary man by all accounts, yet whose subordinates complained: No way will a homosexual be in charge of us, it does not befit men's men like us. I also recently read in this newspaper that Israel will escalate its public relations campaign against Iran. Our foreign ministry plans to enlist the gay and lesbian community worldwide to expose the persecution of homosexuals led by the ayatollahs and their people. We should hope that this campaign is being undertaken with the blessing of the entire coalition, some of whose members have characterized homosexuals as "deviants who should be put to death."

The anti-Iranian campaign has now been short-circuited and poured down the drain. Here they don't just shoot the prime minister. They also shoot homosexuals.