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Two shot dead, 11 injured at Tel Aviv gay center
News update Aug. 2, 2009, photos and reporting added Aug. 3.
by Rex Wockner

This article shared 3041 times since Wed Jul 29, 2009
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Impromtu demonstration at Haifa's main commercial thoroughfare on Sunday evening were attended by feminist and gay organizations, including Aswat ( Palestinian lesbian org ) , Isha L'Isha ( The Haifa Feminist Center ) , Aguda and the Forum ( gay national orgs Haifa chapter ) . Signs are in Hebrew and Arabic. Last photo: the two largest daily newspapers in the country, Ma'ariv ( red print headline reads: "Massacre of pride youth" ) and Yediot Achronot ( white print headline reads: "Terror against the pride community" with yellow box reading "Murder in homo-lesbian youth club" ) Photos by Dorit Jordan Dotan.

Dolan's partner Batya Salzman Levy wrote: I was at the funeral of Nir Katz Sunday evening. That was a hard, hard time. My son asked me to go with him. Many hundreds of people. Here, burying comes swiftly after death, and as Nir was laid to rest it had not yet been 24 hours since his murder. Nir was a respected and loved member of many different communities - we knew him from the small, close-knit Israeli juggling community. His funeral was probably a third or more military - soldiers and high ranking officers from nearly every branch of the service. Those crisp, tough, manly-men types wept and put arms around each other for comfort. About half the mourners were clearly straight. Nir's lover stood with the family. I held my not yet 18 year old son's hand, and watched him weep for a murdered friend. All of the articles protesting these killings deplore the baseless hatred that underlies such homophobia, and it's also used to describe the rampant internecine friction among citizens here - hating someone just because of who they are, be it Arab/Jewish, religious/secular, gay/straight, right/left. In Hebrew, we call baseless hatred "sinat hinam. "Hinam" means not just baseless, but also free as in "free gift" or "for free. Yesterday, sinat hinam proved to be very high priced indeed.

A gunman sprayed bullets at a youth meeting in the basement of one of Tel Aviv's two gay centers Aug. 1, killing two people and injuring at least 11, several seriously.

Killed were Nir Katz, 26, from Givatayim, and Liz Tarbushi, 16, from Holon. Katz, who had worked with the youth group as a counselor for three years, was laid to rest Sunday in Modi'in.

The shooter, who escaped, was masked and wearing black clothing.

Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch said the attack on a "Cafe Youth" social and support gathering at the clubhouse of the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association appeared to be a homophobic hate crime.

Police shut down other gay venues since the assailant remains at large.

Demonstrations were staged in several Israeli cities Sunday at 5 p.m. in response to the attack, said Yonatan Gher, executive director of Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance.

Some 500 people rallied in Jerusalem's Zion Square, after being alerted to the gathering via text messaging. Protests also were reported in Haifa and Beersheba.

On Tuesday, there will be a major demonstration in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square.

Thousands marched Saturday night in a spontaneous outpouring of grief.

"Our city will continue to be a home for the gay community, and we will fight for the right of every person to live his life in the city according to his beliefs and conscience," said Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.

This article shared 3041 times since Wed Jul 29, 2009
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