Last Saturday, over 50,000 people turned out for a demonstration in support of the LGBT community in Tel Aviv. The featured speaker was Israel’s president, Shimon Peres.
Peres has won the Nobel Peace Prize and founded the Peres Peace Center. Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards served on the board of directors until her death.
One 20-year old ultra-Orthodox man was arrested at the rally for posting terrorist threats against the LGBT community on line before the rally. According to Terry Stone, executive director of Center Link, the organization of community centers, the eight youth and one counselor reported hospitalized were expected to remain in the hospital for awhile for physical therapy.
Funds are being collected for the Tel Aviv center to help with the cost of mental health counseling, not just for those wounded, but for others in the community affected by the attack.
No progress in the investigation has been reported, however some evidence points to someone other than an ultra-Orthodox extremist, as is widely suspected. While someone who took the hate speech of the radical right to heart may have committed the crime, the murderer may not be a part of that community:
• The murderer was dressed in black, head to toe. Black reminds us of the ultra-Orthodox dress, but the Orthodox do not dress as the murderer was dressed.
• The murderer was quite accomplished in the use of his weapon. The ultra-Orthodox have a military exemption and, of all Israelis, are the least likely to be marksmen or even to be armed.
• While they speak hate about the LGBT community, there is little actual violence in and around the ultra-Orthodox community. Lots of shunning, but no stoning or beheading.
• The murderer escaped on motorcycle. The ultra-Orthodox don’t run around Tel Aviv on motorcycles.
— David Taffet