Official statements translated by Israeli Consulate

From: "Israeli Consulate" <kereng@newyork.mfa.gov.il>
Date: August 3, 2009 5:19:25 PM CDT
Subject: All of Israel Unites Against Hate Crime in Tel Aviv

CONTACT:
Keren Gelfand
Office: (212) 499-5414
kereng@newyork.mfa.gov.il
August 3, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

All of Israel Unites Against Hate Crime in Tel Aviv

Israeli leaders, regardless of political views or religious observance, have united in their condemnation of Saturday’s attack at a gay and lesbian youth center in Tel Aviv.

"This atrocious crime is worthy of every condemnation. The attack on the LGBT activity center has hit one of Israel’s symbols of tolerance and pluralism. This is a crime not only against the gay community, but against the basic values of the Jewis h-Israeli culture, that sanctifies life and appalls acts such as this. The State of Israel will not tolerate an act of a single person who decides to tear fabric of its democracy, which we pride ourselves in. Israelas a whole and Tel Aviv in particular are an island of tolerance to people of different religions, ethnicities and sexual preference. These values served Israel through the years and manifested into laws,” the Consulate General of Israel released in a statement, “The Israeli authorities will do everything necessary to capture the murderer and bring him to justice. In their tragic death Liz Troubishi and Nir Katz will shine as a beacon for tolerance and pluralism."

Shimon Peres, President: "This heinous murder of youth and teenagers is an act that a civilized nation can not tolerate. Murder and hate are two of the most appalling crimes against society. I call the police to do its utmost to catch this vile murderer. I call all the citizens ofIsrael to denounce this crime."

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister: "I would like to strongly condemn the shocking murders that were perpetrated in Tel Aviv. I fully back the police in their search to find the murderer. We will bring him to justice and treat him with the utmost severity of the law. I would also like to send my condolences to the families of the victims and my wishes for a quick recovery to20the injured. I would like to take this opportunity to remind all Israelis that ours is a democratic state. We are a nation of law. Ours is a country built on tolerance and we must respect all people as they are."

Ehud Barak, Minister of Defense: "I condemn this show of hate, this crime and its perpetrator. I send my condolences to families of the victims and our best wishes to the wounded in the attack."

Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv- Jaffa: "Tel Aviv has been a city of pluralism and tolerance since the day of its establishment, and no one can change this inherent characteristic. We will continue offering the LGBT community our support, as we see Tel Aviv a home where any man or women can live according to their beliefs."

Gideon Saar, Minister of Education: "I’m ashamed today of the fact that the Israeli society has become so violent, cruel and inhumane. In these past weeks we have heard and read of acts which the human mind can not contemplate, and it is up to us to work together to create a better society for our children."

MK Tzipi Livni, Head of Kadima Party, Opposition Leader: "Even though not all the facts are known, it is obvious that the hatred needed to perform such a crime exists and must be eradicated. We must use this horrible crime as a catalyst to shake off bias and prejudice towards th e gay community. This attack should serve as a wake up call for the Israeli society including our political establishment and educational system. Today we must all call for tolerance and act against hate and incitement.”

Shahar Bakshi, Spokesperson for "Shas": "The Haredi Sepharadi party is grieving today and we all condemn this vile crime which targeted the gay community. We send our condolences to the bereaved families and our best wishes to the teenagers wounded in the attack."

MK Nitzan Horowitz, Meretz Party: "This is one of the most shocking crimes we have witnessed, and a first hate crime directed at the gay community. In the last few years we felt a sense of security, and now this atrocious crime that killed two hit us all. We will not step back into the dark closet, we shall not be terrorized. We will carry on marching in Tel Aviv, inJerusalem and in every other city or town. The LGBT community has suffered a severe blow, but we shall stand with heads held high. Years of incitement from politicians, Rabbis and public officials have materialized into this tragedy. We shall not forgive nor forget them."

Dudi Cohen, Police Commissioner: "We should be cautious in labeling whole groups and sectors as culpable for this crime. The Israeli police forces will do everything necessary to investigate this murder."

Mike Hamel, H ead of the LGBT Movement in Israel: "On this horrible and dark day, we are joining the "enlightened" world were hate is the norm. This youth club was supposed to be a safe haven for teenagers, a place that will provide them with the support they need to become proud adults. Never in all of our years have the LGBT movement in Israel sunk so low."

For more information on LGBT Rights and legislature in Israel, please visit:http://www.isrealli.org/gay-rights-in-israel/

To interview David Saranga, Consul for Media and Public Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, on LGBT Rights or the latest in regards to Saturday’s attack, please contact Keren Gelfand and kereng@newyork.mfa.gov.il or 212-499.5414.

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