A gunman dressed in black “burst into the basement of the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association” Saturday night, opening “fire on a support group for gay teenagers.” He fled the scene.
Not only have police “have launched a massive manhunt for the perpetrator“, but
Large numbers of emergency vehicles [have also] converged on the scene, and patrol cars could be seen scouring the area for the gunman. A police crime scene investigation unit gathered evidence from the scene and a gag order was later placed on the details of the investigation.
It is truly a sad day and reminder that no matter how open a society may be, how tolerant it is, hatred still surfaces. Israel has been the most tolerant nation in the Middle East for gay people, with gay Palestinians fleeing to the Jewish state for refuge, a place where they can live openly. Note also how speedily Israeli authorities have reacted to the crime, rushing to save the lives of the victims and to search for the perpetrator.
Even in such an open society, prejudice persists, particularly among the extreme Orthodox. At least one of the religious parties has condemned the attack. In a statement, the Shas faction condemned any use of violence:
The attacker must be located quickly and judged severely. Murder naturally contradicts the way of Torah and any harm is against the religion of Israel.
At least some religious extremists seek to punish the murderers of gay people. And condemn this vile deed.
Words cannot convey my own sadness right now when I think that people just like, just like I was, not all that many years ago were murdered in a place they sought refuge as they were only beginning to come to terms with their difference from the social norm. Where they had hoped to find a safe environment where they could be open about themselves, they were instead subject to the worst form of barbarism, cold-blooded murder.
We grieve for these young people who lost their lives and pray with their familes.