Netanyahu to Jerusalem Pride Parade: LGBT Community Is Inseparable Part of Israeli Society

Prime minister sends message of equality, tolerance in Facebook video address to LGBT community as gay pride parade commences in Jerusalem.

People march in the Jerusalem gay pride parade, July 21, 2016.
Thomas Coex, AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the LGBT community and participants in Jerusalem's gay pride parade in a video message Thursday, saying that they are an inseparable part of Israeli society and must be treated with respect and equality.

"The march today in Jerusalem isn't only a march of the LGBT community," said Netanyahu in the video posted to his Facebook page. "It's not a march exclusive for a specific group. It's a march for us. It's a march for unity. Our brothers and sisters in the community are part and parcel of us, of Israeli society. We are all one family. We respect one another and accept one another with respect and equality. We all have the right and obligation to accept one another without exceptions, regardless of religion, race or sexual preference. We are all created in the image of God. We are all Israelis, we are all citizens of the state, we are one people."

Netanyahu also mentioned Shira Banki, who was murdered at Jerusalem's gay pride parade last year.

"Shira was murdered because she support the simple idea that we are all equal, we are all one," said Netanyahu. "The participants in the gay pride parade will march for one principle: All human beings are equal, all human beings were created in the image of God, all human beings, male and female, have the right to live their lives along their own path with dignity and safety."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video address to the LGBT community during Jerusalem's gay pride parade.

Jerusalem’s gay pride parade kicked off on Thursday evening under massive security with 2,000 police officers on hand.