A gay couple in Jerusalem say they have been attacked two separate times in the past three weeks by students from the yeshiva close to their home.
The couple, Neria and Kevin, were preparing a Shabbat dinner at their home earlier this month when a yeshiva student threw a stone through their window, narrowly missing Kevin’s head.
“It is terrifying that in the State of Israel things like this are happening,” Neria wrote on his Instagram account. “Miraculously [the stone] passed over Kevin’s head and didn’t hit him. One of the students from the yeshiva across from us saw us and this is what he thought was the right way to respond, to kill gay men!”
Neria called the police but they could not do much in this case.
Earlier this week, two weeks after the incident involving the rock, Neria and Kevin say they were assaulted again by yeshiva students while entering their home, reports the Jerusalem Post.
“Three boys from the yeshiva across the street sat next to the doorway of our house, they got up and approached us and began to curse and spit at us. ‘Get out of here, Jerusalem is not for you,’ ‘children of s—s,’ ‘Jerusalem needs to be purified of all gays,'” wrote Neria. “They entered the yard and one of them kicked the gate strongly and began to threaten us.”
“I’m ‘datlash,‘” Neria said, using a term to refer to a secular person who used to be religious. “[I] understand the religious world, I come from a house like this but one that is respectful and doesn’t raise a hand against anyone and doesn’t curse, and doesn’t try to kill another person because of choices he made.”
Neria noted that he previously served in the military and fought for the State of Israel. “I gave from myself for the state and it does not make sense that I receive spitting in my face and threats on my life! I am not asking for support or encouragement. I want you all to understand, to see how awful and how sad the situation in our state is. Freedom of choice? There isn’t any here! I really do not need to live my life in fear or in hiding. Since when is loving a crime?”
Representatives from the Aguda: The Association for LGBTQ+ Equality in Israel and the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance have appealed to the police and the Jerusalem Municipality to address the matter with the yeshiva in question and place security cameras on the street where Neria and Kevin live.
“These harsh assaults remind us of the sad reality that every three hours there is an incident of violence or hatred against the LGBT people,” said the Aguda. “The police are expected to prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law and act with zero tolerance for LGBTQ-phobia.”
According to a February report published by the Nir Katz Center of Aguda, there were 2,971 cases of anti-LGBTQ hate or violence reported in Israel in 2021, the highest number since the Center began tracking data in 2013.
The figure marks a 10% rise in hate-related incidents compared to 2020. The report claimed that 9% of the anti-LGBTQ incidents that took place in 2021 occurred in the Jerusalem area.
The Jerusalem Open House, which organizes the annual Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance, commented on the proliferation of anti-LGBTQ attacks, and invited supporters of LGBTQ rights to participate in the march, which is set to take place on June 2 this year.
“Twenty years of marching make it clear and unequivocal that the proud community in Jerusalem is here to stay,” Alon Shahar, the director-general of the Jerusalem Open House, said in a statement. “When on a daily basis we hear over and over again about the removal of Pride flags, violence and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in the city, it is clear to us that our struggle is still far from over.”
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