The Jerusalem WorldPride parade has been postponed until “after the war.”
The organisers of the event, Jerusalem Open House (JOH), announced last night that the rally will no longer take place due to the demands it would be making on security which is currently caught up in escalating tension in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
A JOH statement said: “This is not the time for celebrations.
“The parade, which requires extensive security, will not take place due to the situation.”
A JOH spokesman told PinkNews.co.uk: “The week of events will go ahead, from 6-12 August, but will be toned down to suit the situation in Israel.
“All the conferences and congresses will go ahead as usual and there will also be some form of demonstration in favour of pluralism in Jerusalem.”
JOH Director Hagai Elad told Israeli news website, Ynetnews.com, “We are determined to fight for our right to march in Jerusalem this year.
“We will not succumb to the violent incitement against our community and against all the proponents of democracy in Jerusalem.”
The situation may appease some sections of Israel’s Orthodox Jewish community and politicians who have protested against the march and in some cases offered rewards for killing a gay person.
Over 2000 leaflets were distributed in Jerusalem, reading; “During this parade, 300,000 corrupt animals are anticipated to march through the holy city of Jerusalem, waiting avidly for the chance to put themselves on display before our children and our sacred Torah. They will try as hard as they can to defile as many of our innocent children as they can.”
Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar wrote to Pope Benedict XVI asking for his condemnation, he said: “We ask your Excellency to issue an emotional, strong, and unequivocal call against this horrible phenomenon, in the hope that the amalgamation of protests being voiced by religious leaders… will prevent the wilful wrongdoers to damage and corrupt the ways of humanity.”
An Arab member of the Israeli Parliament (Knesset), Ibrahim Sarsur, said: “If gays will dare approach the Temple Mount during the parade, they will do so over our dead bodies.”
Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch of the ultra-orthodox Beth Din (religious court) said: “This parade poses a real threat to the citizens of Israel.”
Israel has called up reserve army forces, and warned Lebanese citizens to leave, as it steps up its campaign of targeting Hezbollah militants who kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and are firing rockets into nearby cities such as Haifa.
Meanwhile the United Nations is warning of a humanitarian disaster and The US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit the region tomorrow.
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, North American co-chair of WorldPride said: “I am fully committed to attending all WorldPride programs and events, traveling with dozens of my congregation members to Jerusalem with pride and anticipation next week. Now, more than ever, it is important that we demonstrate the values of WorldPride in Jerusalem a city like no other, a distinctive global symbol.
“Sadly, that symbol has been hijacked to propagate fundamentalism, segregation, and conflict. WorldPride will be held in Jerusalem to reclaim the symbol that Jerusalem is, for what it was originally all about: tolerance, openness, and respect for all human beings regardless of sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, or nationality.”