Jerusalem gay march tension grows

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Jerusalem police are considering cancelling the WorldPride gay march as protest grows, according to reports.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have threatened “holy-war” against the march and have called on all Jewish people to oppose the parade using biblical punishments, prompting police to deploy extra officers to protect marchers.

But Israeli paper Arutz Sheva reports that this is a sign that they may cancel the parade if it proves too hard to police.

According to Ynet News, Jerusalem Police Chief Ilan Franko has met with orthodox leader Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss. to assess the stance of ultra-orthodox rabbis, known as Haredim, who declared their intent of a ‘Million Man Protest’ against the parade.

A source close to the rabbi told Ynet News that Weiss told Franko that he cannot promise the police chief that there won’t be Haredi violence at the march.

“The rabbi declared there’d be a war over this, that we couldn’t stay silent about it. We cannot give up or compromise about this.”

Supporters of the parade counter that freedom of speech enables them to hold the event in Jerusalem, as a symbol of tolerance and pluralism, even if theirs is the view of the minority of residents in the city, reports the Jerusalem Post.

Noa Satath, Director of Jerusalem Open House which is organising the march, told Arutz Sheva that she is sure the police will provide protection.