Israeli Police Arrest Brothers of Teen Stabbed Outside Tel Aviv LGBTQ Shelter

Suspects deny involvement, claim they didn't know they were wanted as police searched for them for days

Police at the scene of the stabbing in South Tel Aviv, July 26, 2019.
Meged Gozani

Two men were arrested by Israeli police Tuesday on suspicion of having stabbed their 16-year-old brother outside a Tel Aviv LGBTQ youth shelter last week.

The police said that the brothers, residents of the northern Israeli Arab town of Tamra, had handed themselves over to the police and are being questioned. The suspects, who deny involvement in the incident, say they did not know that they were wanted and that the police had searched for them in the wrong house.

The police suspect that the victim's brothers, who were seen arguing with him outside the Beit Dror youth shelter on Friday, stabbed him because of his sexual orientation. He was seriously wounded and underwent surgery in Ichilov hospital, where he is currently in stable condition, his room guarded by the police.

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A source at Beit Dror said that authorities were aware that the boy was under threat. He was removed from his home under orders from social services due to harassment from his family. Following the suspects' arrest, Beit Dror expressed relief and said it will continue, "despite the difficult circumstances, to try and make the youth staying there feel protected."

There are currently 14 young people living in Beit Dror, which serves LGBTQ youth between the ages of 14 and 18 who have been rejected or feel unsafe at home due to their sexual orientation. A number of them are from Israel's Arab community.

A protest by Al-Qaws for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society is slated for Thursday in Haifa. In their statement, signed by over 30 Arab civil society organizations, they wrote "It is no secret that we cannot count on Israeli authorities ... Gender-based violence, like all other types of violence, requires a comprehensive and radical community-based approach."

On Friday, over a thousand demonstrators took part in the “Fighting for Our Lives” protest in Tel Aviv in support of transgender rights. In the march, planned before the attempted murder, protesters cried out: “There are 8 billion people in the world – why just two genders?” and “We won’t let you sleep – trans people want equal rights.” Some placards said: “Don’t look at me, see me!”

Statistics published by the Israeli National LGBT Task Force (Aguda) last February showed a 54 percent increase in reports of anti-LGBTQ attacks in 2018 from the previous year. Statistics show that every 10 hours, a member of Israel's LGBT community is attacked, but only three percent of those who report attacks file complaints with the police.