Gunman shoots 2 at gay center in Tel Aviv, Israel
Two people are dead and at least 15 injured after a masked gunman opened fire this weekend during a weekly youth meeting at Tel Aviv’s main LGBT community center. Israel’s gay community is reeling from the incident.
Two were killed in the shooting: a 26 year old male youth counselor and a 16 year old female. The unidentified gunman wore a mask and black clothing. He is still on the loose. Tel Aviv police temporarily closed the city’s gay clubs and are conducting door to door searches.
The attackers motive’s are unknown, but Israel’s Minister of Public Security called it an apparent homophobic hate crime. If so, it’s the most deadly attack to date on Israel’s gay community.
A day later, hundreds of Israelis held a vigil near the scene of the attack. David Arbiv, from Tel Aviv, also recently worked as a youth counselor for the same organization.
Arbiv: “I feel like someone hurt me, killed part of me. It makes you think, how safe is it to be in Tel Aviv.”
Tel Aviv likes to call itself the gay capital of the Middle East. Gays and lesbians from around Israel flock here for its tolerant atmosphere. Which is why the attack was such a shock.
Some gay community leaders and members pointed an accusing finger at Israel’s ultra Orthodox Jewish community, which has acted against gays in recent years. Religious groups issued public statements condemning the attack, and some Orthodox individuals paid condolence calls at the scene of the attack. Many in the religious community feel wrongfully blamed. Nachman preferred to use only his first name.
With regards to gays, this is against the Torah, Nachman says. On the other hand, it is forbidden to kill another human being. The rabbis are against it and we don’t educate towards this. The killer was not Orthodox, he said.
–Daniel Estrin, Tel Aviv.