Where’s the evidence? Israeli media claims ‘far-right activists’ planning violence at Jerusalem pride parade

The national security minister stressed that while he does not agree with the parade in the Holy City, he will ensure that participants are safe and secure.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Israeli media outlets reported in recent days that the upcoming LGBTQ pride march in Jerusalem is under threat from right-wing Jewish activists, but the sources cited for those claims are dubious.

The Times of Israel quoted a Channel 12 report, which was in turn sourced from a blogger called FakeReporter.

That blogger claimed that “far-right activists” associated with the Lehava group were discussing using violence against marchers on the Telegram messaging app.

The outlets published snippets of conversations between the anonymous users, who exchanged remarks such as wishing that “all the marchers die from machine gun fire.” Another user opposed to the march posted that “maybe Iran’s bomb will restore order here.”

The Telegram app allows anyone to create a discussion group and give it whatever name or title they wish. Therefore, it is plausible that individuals opened the group and said they were affiliated with Lehava, when that may not actually be true.

The Times of Israel and Channel 12 claimed that the anti-Jerusalem march group, which was called “Jews don’t stay silent,” is officially sanctioned by the Lehava organization – but provided no evidence to back up that allegation.

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The reports also failed to mention that faith leaders from all three Abrahamic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – are opposed to the parade, along with many religiously observant residents of Israel’s capital city.

The Times of Israel report slammed National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir because of his public opposition to the parade. The report also mentioned that Benzi Gopstein, the head of Lehava, was once a candidate within the election list for Ben-Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party.

Ben-Gvir stressed, however, that while he does not agree with the parade in the Holy City, he will ensure that participants are safe and secure.

“Even though I’m not enthusiastic about the existence of the parade, I don’t want a single hair on the head of the marchers to be hurt, and I will do everything to get comprehensive security,” Ben-Gvir said in a statement picked up by numerous Hebrew-language media outlets.

Shira Banki, a teenage girl participating in the Jerusalem Pride Parade, was stabbed to death in 2015 by an ultra-Orthodox man opposed to the march.

The assailant, Yishai Schlissel, had been released from prison just weeks before, following 10 years of incarceration for stabbing marchers in the 2005 parade.

Schlissel is currently serving a life sentence for Banki’s murder.