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Gays Face Tough Time In Jerusalem

A server at Jerusalem’s only gay bar, still shaken by last week’s deadly stabbing at a Gay Pride parade, is candid about the difficulties homosexuals face in the Holy City.

“Being gay in Jerusalem is an everyday struggle,” said Moran, who works at Video pub, hidden away in a downtown neighbourhood. “Deciding when or on which street I can hold my girlfriend’s hand — it’s a struggle.”

Despite being just a short drive from Tel Aviv, considered one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, Jerusalem can feel like another planet for the homosexual community. Gay Pride marchers in Jerusalem have been jeered by homophobes, and when they parade it is under heavy police protection.

In Tel Aviv, some 70 kilometres (40 miles) away, anything goes and few people seem to care. “Tel Aviv is a bubble where everything is possible,” said Moran. “If you want to walk the streets with a chicken on your head, you can.”

Police protection in Jerusalem was not enough on July 30, when a man in ultra-Orthodox garb stormed the Gay Pride parade in the city centre and stabbed six people.

The attack drew widespread condemnation, but police have faced questions over how the suspect arrested immediately   after the attack, Yishai Shlissel, was allowed anywhere near the event. He had been released from prison only three weeks earlier after serving a 10-year sentence for a similar attack.

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