A year after the shootings at a Tel Aviv LGBT youth centre in which two young people died, over a dozen teenagers who were present at the attack have undertaken an organised trip to Germany.
The trip, which took place this week, was organised by the German organisation Maneo, as part of a campaign to support Tel Aviv’s gay community after last year’s fatal attack.
During the trip, the young delegates met with Berlin police officials and members of the local LGBT community.
On Wednesday, Maneo held a memorial service for the two young people killed in the attack – Nir Katz and Liz Trubishi – near Berlin’s monument commemorating the gay and lesbian victims of the Nazi regime.
Nir Katz’s mother, Ayala, who was part of the delegation, said her son visited Berlin a number of times and was extremely touched by the monument in memory of those murdered by the Third Reich.
She added: “I wait for the day when everyone understands that all people are human beings. Only idiots murder people for who they are.”
Of the young delegates who was present at the time of the shootings said: “The mere fact we are here, together, united once again, more than a year after [the attack], sends a message of triumph. We see this visit as a symbolic event, the complete opposite from the attack.”
However, a Berlin official noted that his city had its own problems related to violence against LGBT people. He added that just because the city’s mayor was openly gay, it didn’t mean problems with homophobia were a thing of the past.
These issues are also being addressed by Maneo. Director Bastian Finke said: “We run anti-racism programs in schools, which include workshops where students create signs and posters against homophobia.”
He also added that Maneo seeks to encourage police to take seriously attacks on members of the gay community. He said: “For the past 18 years, Berlin’s police have been employing special officers that deal with complaints related to homophobia-related attacks.”
Police in Berlin must report homophobic cases to the central authority, which preserves the German constitution. “This way,” added Mr Finke, “we send a message to the public that homophobia threatens the democratic foundations of Germany.”