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An LGBT+ person was attacked every three hours in Israel last year, disturbing report reveals

Maggie Baska February 23, 2021
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Pride Tel Aviv Israel covid

Participants hold rainbow flags as they take part in Tel Aviv's annual Pride Parade amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on 28 June 2020. Thousands took part in muted LGBT events across Israel today as the usually larger gatherings were cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions. (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

An LGBT+ person was attacked every three hours in Israel in 2020, a sharp spike in violent and hate-fuelled incidents against its LGBT+ community.

An annual report by the Nir Katz Center of the Aguda – The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel found 2,696 attacks against the LGBT+ community were reported in 2020, compared to 2,125 reported incidents in 2019, a 27 per cent increase.

The Aguda said their report revealed LGBT-phobia is “still present in all areas of life” including home, work, social settings and government institutions in Israel.

Over half (55 per cent) of all reports of violence against LGBT+ people in 2020 were made by women (cisgender and trans), while men made 33 per cent of reports. A quarter (25 per cent) were by trans people, andwithabout one in 10 (12 per cent) reports made by genderqueer people.

The pandemic pushed anti-LGBT+ violence into people’s private spaces

The Aguda warned COVID turned homes into “pressure cookers” for anti-LGBT+ violence, reducing safe spaces for the LGBT+ community that existed before the pandemic.

Twenty-eight per cent of violent incidents occurred among family, and 25 per cent happened in the area near the victim’s family – three times the eight per cent reported in 2019.

In 2020, over 315 young LGBT+ people were forced out of their home due to abuse or harassment over their sexuality or gender identity, a 16 per cent increase from the year before.

As a result of the pandemic and isolation because of lockdowns, the report warned “LGBTQ-phobia does not disappear or diminish, but takes on a different form and adapts itself to the new reality we have become accustomed to in the past year”.

Nurit Shein, chairwoman of Aguda, called on members of the LGBT+ community to report violent incidents to help the organisation monitor crime and push for change and progress. She told The Jerusalem Post that the LGBT+ advocacy group is “here, on every front and in every arena”.

Shein continued: “We will not be erased from the public and governmental space and we will continue to protect the personal security of us all for a stronger, tolerant, just and inclusive society.”

Two in five (43 per cent) anti-LGBT+ incidents occurred in Tel Aviv and Gush Dan. Reported incidents in northern Israel and Haifa doubled in 2020, rising from 11 per cent in 2019 to 22 per cent this year.

Violent attacks against LGBT+ people from the Sharon region also doubled. Three per cent of anti-LGBT+ incidents took place in the region in 2019, but in 2020, this jumped to seven per cent of reported attacks.

Related topics: anti-LGBT crime, Israel, Tel Aviv

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