Emergency services attend the scene of the stabbing of a LGBTI youth (Photo: YouTube)
Nearly 1,000 people marched in Tel Aviv, Israel to denounce violence against the LGBTI community on Sunday (28 July).
The demonstration came after a 16-year-old boy was stabbed outside a local LGBTI center on Friday.
Attendees marched under the banner ‘fighting for our lives’, the Times of Israel reports.
כאלף איש צועדים בצעדת קהילת הלהט”ב בתל אביב תחת הכותרת “נלחמות על החיים שלנו”@OferHalfonKan pic.twitter.com/sfgKQL8HBE
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) July 28, 2019
An attacker stabbed the 16-year-old boy on Friday.
The unidentified teen, who lives in Israel’s Beit Dror center reportedly sustained the injury from a man exiting a car and then fleeing the scene.
Local media reports the victim told those at the scene the attacker was his brother.
Medical professionals then rushed the teen to Ichilov hospital in a serious condition, with stab wounds to his chest and leg.
On Sunday, LGBTI leader Etai Pinkas-Arad said the inflammatory rehtoric against the LGBTI community fueled attacks like Friday’s.
‘When the country is full of inciting billboards, when our religious leaders are willing to sacrifice our blood, and the education minister wants to convert us, then some people are hearing that message and are taking action,’ he said.
‘The ongoing incitement against the gay community has a direct connection to the increased violence against us,’ Pinkas-Arad said.
Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz, Israel’s first openly-gay leader of a political party, also attended.
‘The fact that an attack like this occurred at a place that is supposed to be a safehouse for youths from the gay community demonstrates the depth of the danger,’ reportedly said.
Hate crimes in Israel
Local LGBTI rights organization Aguda in February reported a 54% jump in the number of homophobic incidents in 2018 compared to 2017.
LGBTI activist Tomo Hen told Gay Star News: ‘Stabbing a family member just because they are LGBTI is a hate crime. It feels like the anti-LGBTI movement is getting stronger here.’
Israeli LGBTI Youth Organization (IGY) also labeled the stabbing a ‘hate crime’.
‘We pray for the wellbeing of the wounded and stand with Beit Dror on this difficult day,’ they said in a statement. ‘This stabbing was not coincidental.’
They then added: ‘This is a hate crime against the LGBTI community. There is a price for the insinuations and LGBTphobia we hear everyday.’
Lawmakers of opposition parties attended, the Times reports. They denounced the ruling government’s position on LGBTI rights.
Israeli Education Minister Rafi Peretz backtracked on comments he made supporting so-called conversion therapy.
Asked if he thought conversion therapy worked by Israeli TV station, Channel 12, he said, ‘I think that it is possible to convert [a person’s sexual orientation],’ he said. I can tell you that I have deep familiarity on the issue of education, and I have also done this.’
The comments provoked condemnation from LGBTI rights groups. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also criticized them.