World Pride still a go as officials nervously eye Israel-Hezbollah conflict

Posted on 20 Jul 2006 at 4:24pm
By Staff Reports

Week-long event scheduled to begin Aug. 6 in Jerusalem

World Pride is still on the schedule in Jerusalem, but worried officials monitoring the Israel-Hezbollah conflict say they’re “carefully monitoring the situation.”

World Pride is a week-long international event set to begin Aug. 6 in Jerusalem.

Dances, a beach party, film festival and health conference are scheduled, along with the signature World Pride March.

World Pride was originally scheduled in the Holy City last year, but was postponed due to security fears related to Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

The events next month if they are held at all given Israel’s promise that the attacks against Hezbollah will continue for at least a month will be only the second time the event has been held.

The inaugural World Pride March was held in Rome in 2000.

For several months, the march has come under increasingly intense fire by religious conservatives of the three major religions represented in Jerusalem Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

Last weekend, anonymous flyers were circulated offering a reward of 20,000 shekels, or about $4,400, for “anyone who brings about the death of one of these residents of Sodom and Gomorrah.” And one right-wing party has submitted a no-confidence motion against the government over the parade, saying Israeli officials have not done enough to stop it.

But that role belongs to the police, which issue permits for public events, the government said.

A police spokesman said they had not decided whether to issue a permit to World Pride.

“We are continuing our work toward August 6, the opening date of Jerusalem World Pride week,” said Hagai El-Ad, executive director of Jerusalem Open House, coordinators of the week-long gathering.

“During the current hostilities, Jerusalem is a calm spot, with a variety of public events going on as scheduled. We advise our guests from around the world to follow the news together with us, and hope for peace,” he said.

El-Ad said the World Pride message was about tolerance and against violence, and he noted the need for that message as the fighting wears on.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 21, 2006.

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