Jerusalem Affairs Minister Edri has asked the police to consider banning the Homosexual Parade in Jerusalem, scheduled for nine days from now. The police are leaning towards calling it off.
The police announced last night (Tuesday) that they were planning to deploy in top-level strength for the event - a declaration perceived by some to be a salvo in the public-opinion war over whether or not to allow the march. One internal police source said the announcement was publicized merely to stir up anti-march sentiment; official police sources denied this.
Hareidi-religious affairs commentator Yossi Elituv said, "The fight against the march has knocked down all barriers in the hareidi and religious camps. The Hassidic sectors - Belz, Gerrer, and others - together with Litaim (non-Hassidic), as well as the Sephardi-hareidim and the religious-Zionist sectors - all are standing together against this parade."
The police say they have received word that protestors are planning to throw eggs and razor blades at the marchers, flood the streets with sewage, block roads in Jerusalem and elsewhere, and even possibly perpetrate fake terrorist attacks. Elituv says these fears are "ridiculous and totally unfounded." He said he does not believe any violence is planned, but cannot rule out unpredictable acts by individuals.
Official: March Would Not be Held in Mecca or Vatican
Army Radio's Micha Friedman asked a police official whether the police were "actually yielding to the threats of violent groups." The official said, "Let's not be naive. Such a parade would never be held in the Vatican nor in Mecca..."
Members of the Islamic Movement have also called for the cancellation of the parade.
The police said they are planning to field 6,000 policemen in Jerusalem, with the addition of another 2,000 Border Guardsmen from their patrols in Judea and Samaria, on the day of the march, if it is held.
Protests Have StartedHareidi protests against the march have already begun. Last night, hundreds attempted to block the main highway leading to the Old City from northern Jerusalem. Some protestors wore sackcloth and burnt garbage bins; the police used violence to remove them, and several protestors threw rocks. Four policemen were reported injured, while no word was received on how many protestors were hurt. Several of the latter were detained.
Thousands of religious Jews legally blocked off the Sabbath Square intersection in the Me'ah She'earim neighborhood of Jerusalem two weeks ago, threatening to be out in even stronger force if the march is actually held.
Religious and political leaders have called for, and said they will lead, active protests against the march. Tens of thousands are expected to take part in protests against the march on the day itself, and Jerusalem residents are signing up to host Jews from other parts of the country for the Sabbath that begins immediately following the end of the march.
Noa Satat, the head of the Jerusalem Open House, which is organizing the march, said that the police have been working for weeks on plans to protect the march, and therefore she is certain that the police will "fulfill their legal obligation and protect freedom of expression."
The Sanhedrin - a group of rabbis who say they have re-established the religious-legal assembly of 71 sages that convened as the Supreme Jewish Tribunal during the Holy Temple period and for several centuries afterwards - has called upon all synagogues to hold their upcoming Sabbath services on the streets. "Close your doors and pray outside," the organization calls, "as a sign of shame, warning and pleading for the abominable march to be canceled. We must not continue our regular routine while the police and courts force a march of abomination in Jerusalem upon millions of Jews against their faith and belief in the holiness of the city and the Torah's dictates."
Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi announced that he has postponed his scheduled trip to Turkey next week, in light of the preparations needed for the march. Karadi was to have signed a cooperation agreement between the police forces of Israel and Turkey.
וְגַנּוֹתִי אֶל הָעִיר הַזֹּאת לְהוֹשִׁיעָהּ"
For I will defend this city to save it"