Ultra-Orthodox Man Arrested With Knife at Israeli Gay Pride Parade Released

His employer confirmed his claim that he needed the box cutter for his work; second man arrested at Be'er Sheva event also released

Hundreds of Israelis march in Be'er Sheva’s first gay pride parade
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP

Two ultra-Orthodox men in their 20s who were arrested on Thursday at Be’er Sheva’s first gay pride parade were released on Friday morning, with limitations on their movements. 

One of the men, who was arrested carrying a box-cutter knife, was released after his employer confirmed his claim that he needed the small knife for his work.

Police said they still have to question other people who work with the man and if they confirm his story the limitations on his movements will be removed. He was arrested just after 9 P.M. close to where the concluding rally was being held.

The other man, who suffers from mental illness, was arrested when he tried to force his way into the closed area where the rally was held. 

This was the first time a gay pride parade has been held in Be’er Sheva, and some 3,500 people participated. They marched for a kilometer down the main thoroughfare of the city, Yitzhak Rager Boulevard, ending outside city hall, where Margalit Tzan’ani and Ania Bukstein sang in a performance funded by the city. 

Marchers carried signs with slogans such as “It’s okay to be gay in Be’er Sheva, too” and “Be’er Sheva, you are not alone.”

The city’s first pride parade was supposed to be held last year, but it was canceled after police changed the route from Yitzhak Rager Boulevard to side streets.