Jewish leaders in Dallas respond to deadly attack on LGBT community center in Tel Aviv

Posted on 03 Aug 2009 at 12:30pm

Below is a report from David Taffet, our resident expert on gay Jewish affairs. Above is a video report from BBC about the incident.

By David Taffet
On Saturday, a masked gunman dressed in black entered the LGBT community center in Tel Aviv, Israel, killed two people and wounded another 10 to 15. Some reports indicate a third person is dead.
The group that was meeting at the LGBT community center at the time was a youth group. Killed were Nir Katz, the group’s 26-year old leader, and Liz Trubeshi, a straight teen and group supporter.
CNN, CBS and other national news organizations are misreporting the location as “a club.” The murders did not occur at Evita, Tel Aviv’s biggest gay bar, or Beit Ha’Shoeva, a lesbian bar. The teens were meeting at the city-funded LGBT community center.
Katz was probably targeted first. As the only adult in the room, he’d completed his national service and was likely to have been armed, since all adults remain on active reserve duty. The others, all teens, would not be armed.
The liberal Israeli newspaper Ha’Aretz reports the center reopened today. The murderer has not been caught. Police are refusing to reveal details of the investigation saying that could compromise it.
Mike Hamel, president of Agudah, Israel’s LGBT rights organization, blamed the attack on religious extremists for inciting hatred against gays.
Gary Weinstein, president of the Jewish Federation of Dallas, led an LGBT mission to Israel in 2008. The group visited the center where the attack took place. He said he takes the attack personally and is quite hurt by it.
“As President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas I will express our community’s shock and outrage at this homophobic attack and ask the Israeli authorities to aggressively hunt down the criminals and prosecute to the fullest of the law,” Weinstein said in a note to Israel’s consul general in Houston and to Diane Litke, president of Congregation Beth El Binah in Dallas.
“We will not condone this and will speak out on behalf of our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel who have the right to live in a secure and open environment whether in NYC, Dallas, or Tel Aviv,” Weinstein said.
Speaking to the LGBT community in Israel, Weinstein said, “Please let everyone know we share your community’s grief and anger.”
Litke said, “Congregation Beth El Binah is creating a fund to help the center and the victims and their families. We will be working with the Community Center in Dallas, where we meet, about a response from our community.”
For updates on the local response to the attack, stay tuned to Dallas Voice and Instant Tea.

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