Masses Protest Violence against Transgenders after Teen Stabbed

Nearly a thousand protesters marched in Tel Aviv Sunday evening, July 28, to denounce violence against Israel’s transgender community after a hate crime stabbing outside a local LGBT center left a teenager seriously injured. Under the banner “Fighting for Our Lives,” marchers made their way from the Florentine neighborhood to Rothschild Boulevard, where LGBT and transgender activists addressed the crowd.

MK Ofer Cassif (first from left) during the "Fighting for Our Lives" march held in Tel Aviv last Sunday, July 28

MK Ofer Cassif (first from left) during the “Fighting for Our Lives” march held in Tel Aviv last Sunday, July 28 (Photo: Zu Haderech)

The rally was attended by MK Ofer Cassif, who said that Hadash is committed to stamping out violence against the LGBT community. The lawmaker condemned the political allies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party for expressing support for dangerous “conversion therapy” and other controversial anti-gay initiatives.

The march was organized after a 17-year-old from the Arab city of Tamra was stabbed Friday afternoon, July 26, outside Tel Aviv’s Beit Dror shelter, after moving there to escape family pressure. According to the staff of Beit Dror, before collapsing the teenager identified the assailant as his brother. Police launched a manhunt for the suspect, though as of Sunday, no arrests had been made. The condition of the victim, who has not been named, was upgraded to moderate after undergoing emergency surgery at Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv.

“We can’t accept any type of violence in our society, definitely not hate crimes,” Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) wrote on Twitter. “The struggle against violence and crime in our society is an emergency situation and is our top priority.” Like Odeh, all Hadash lawmakers linked the stabbing to general violence against and among Arabs in Israel, but explicitly denounced attacks against the LGBT community. “This shocking incident exposed that gender violence within the family, sometimes murderous, which is generally directed at women, is also directed at LGBT youth who wish to live in liberty,” Hadash MK Aida Touma-Sliman tweeted.

In February, the LGBT rights organization Aguda released a report indicating that in 2018 there was a 54% rise in the number of reported homophobic incidents compared to the previous year.