ISRAELI ORTHODOX PARTY DENIES CONTRIBUTION TO GAY HATE ATMOSPHERE

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BY YAAKOV LAPPIN

Within a couple of hours of Saturday night’s deadly shooting spree at a gay community center in Tel Aviv, hundreds of members of the city’s gay and lesbian community gathered with placards and candles to protest the killings, while Shas was accused of inciting the attack.

“I warned in a column last year that Israel is a place which, on the one hand has liberal laws, but on the other does not attempt to counter homophobia,” Danny Zak, a gay activist and journalist, told the Jerusalem Post during the demonstration. “A murder was waiting to happen,” Zak added.

“The Shas party has the blood of two innocent kids on their hands,” he said. “Shas has blamed gays for earthquakes and diseases. This is incitement, but no one is put on trial for it,” he said.

Shas released a statement following the shooting in which it called for the attacker “to be found and tried. Murder is of course against the Torah’s path and every attack is a contravention of the religion of Israel.”

Meretz MK Nitzan Horovitz, who is gay, arrived at the scene of the shooting. “There has been non-stop incitement,” he told the Post. “I very much hope this is not the result of comments made by public figures and Knesset members. They need to understand that some people will take action,” Horovitz added.

Last year, former Shas MK Shlomo Benizri said that homosexuals caused earthquakes.

During a special Knesset session on seismic activity, Benizri – recently sentenced to four years in jail for corruption – proposed that the Knesset “find a way to prevent mishkav zachar [sexual relations between men], and thus save [us] a lot of earthquakes.”

Lior Kay, a gay activist who took part in Saturday night’s demonstration, said, “I just want say one thing. We will not be intimidated. We will not be frightened by this act of terrorism.”

“Love is allowed, killing is forbidden,” a sign at the demonstration read.

Israeli recording artist and gay icon Ivri Lider told Army Radio on Sunday that the attack “shows that even Tel Aviv is not a safe place for gays.”

See Related: GAYS SLAIN IN TEL AVIV ARCHIVE

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