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No Arrests in Tel Aviv Gay Center Attack

Was it homophobia?

Ari M. Brostoff
August 03, 2009

Two days after the deadly attack at a Tel Aviv gay and lesbian center, in which a gunman killed two young people and wounded several more, police haven’t made any arrests, but Haaretz reports that they have a lead that suggests a personal feud, rather than anti-gay animus, was behind the violence. Still, an editorial in that newspaper argues that this is not an isolated incident: “incitement” against gays, particularly from ultra-Orthodox individuals, spikes every year around June’s gay pride parades. Haaretz also reports that the center where the shooting took place is frequented largely by Russian-speaking teenagers from families hostile to their sexuality; at least one of those wounded in the attack wasn’t out to his family until he was rushed to the hospital. Meanwhile, blogger Pierre Tristam notes that Israeli officials were quick to reassure the public that the attack was not an act of terror—what he calls a “perverse” attempt to downgrade the status of violence perpetrated by Israelis and against gays. “What, precisely, is the difference between terrorism and a hate crime?” he asks. But, according to the Los Angeles Times, some Israelis did draw a connection between the shooting and terrorist attacks. “Just like we do not stop riding the bus after a suicide bombing,” the center’s director told the paper, “we will continue meeting and holding our activities.”

Ari M. Brostoff is Culture Editor at Jewish Currents.