J'lem Gay Pride Parade Halted After 3 Participants Stabbed by Religious Jewish Man

Religious Jewish assailant causes participants light, moderate wounds; court removes ban on event.

Jerusalem's fourth annual gay pride parade was temporarily halted Thursday evening after a religious Jewish man stabbed three participants.

The assilant ran into the crowd, stabbed one man, moved on to a young woman stabbing her hand, and then lightly wounded a third man. Police arrested the assailant as well as 13 other religious protesters who were detained for disturbances of the peace.

Some 200 religious protesters faced off against 2,000 participants, according to police estimates.

The parade set off from the downtown headquarters of Open House, Jerusalem's gay and lesbian community center, which organized the event.

On Sunday, the courts ordered Jerusalem municipality to drop its ban on the parade, after following an appeal from Open House.

Jerusalem District Court Judge Moussia Arad, who is vice president of the court for administrative affairs, also ordered the municipality and Mayor Uri Lupolianski to each pay court costs of NIS 30,000.

The judge ruled that City Hall cannot discriminate against a particular sector of society because some people objected to its opinions or sexual orientation.

The director of Open House, Hagai Elad, described the court verdict as a victory for freedom of expression and the principle of equality. He promised that the parade would take place as planned and would follow the same format as last year's.

The event had the approval of the police.

Chairman of the Jerusalem Meretz branch, Saar Netanel, said he "felt tremendous satisfaction at the fact that Lupolianski will have to pay NIS 30,000 out of his own pocket."

Netanel said the verdict was a victory not only for the gay and lesbian community but for whoever aspired to an open and pluralistic Jerusalem.