Jerusalem’s annual Pride March is an opportunity for members of the LGBTQ+ community to make their voices heard. In some ways, it is not just individuals who have a chance to come out of the closet, but also stances on any number of personal and political issues. Here is a selection of messages seen at last week’s Jerusalem Pride March.
Yisrael Kimmel (59), a Haredi man from Jerusalem: “I came to stand here in memory of Shira [Banki], who was murdered here [in a stabbing attack at the 2015 Jerusalem Pride March]. I wasn’t present at the attack but I remember that day very well. I come here every year. I don’t participate in the march; I just stand here, pray, and ask for forgiveness in the name of religious Jews for the murder. Over the years the attitude [towards the Pride March] has changed, but there’s still tension, and it’s ridiculous. Some people say that this shouldn’t happen in Jerusalem, but I say it needs to happen every week. There’s no disrespect to the city in holding a march. The only disrespect to the city is to murder young people in the middle of its streets.”
Varbra Mikhailova (30), a new olah (immigrant) from Saint Petersburg: “I want people all over the world to know about the case of Sasha Skochilenko – an artist, musician, and open lesbian, who’s facing 10 years in prison in Russia for distributing anti-war leaflets. I want people all over the world to know that people in Russia, including LGBT people, are continuing to fight against Putin and against the war, and to know the price that they pay for this resistance.”
Shushka Engelmeir: “There are a few hundred stickers and posters that I designed in all different colors hanging throughout Jerusalem. No one is as proud and happy as I am. Now I’m marching with my new sign and with beloved friends.”
Carmen Elmakiyes Amos, social activist with “Breaking Walls”: “Today we marched in Jerusalem. The gay community invited the same people who are evicting the residents of Kfar Shalem [a working-class neighborhood in South Tel Aviv being cleared to make way for a new light rail] to give speeches, as well as those who deny the kidnapping of children of Yemeni, Mizrahi, and Balkan immigrants to Israel in the 1950s. You can’t speak in favor of gay rights while you evict neighborhoods and deny kidnappings at the same time.”
This article was translated from Hebrew by Sam Edelman.