The 2017 Jerusalem GLBTQIA Parade was a great success in numbers. Again, some rabbis no doubt unintentionally (some “wisely” seem to have held back reporting enraging things until after the march) really helped to make its number of participants swell greatly. The police had expected 4,000 marchers. The actual figure varied from report to report, between 12,000 (Jerusalem online) to 22,000 (Times of Israel). The media did not only report some antipathy – unfortunately, also  reporting itself showed some signs of hostility. And don’t assume automatically that the progressive press was the least biased.

The one-quire English weekend Haaretz (my delivery guy brought me the wrong paper) had a small report at page 2, and an opinion piece at 5 and 7. The whole top- part of the front page was (of course) reserved for trashing the PM. To be fair, the paper did have a front-page picture-free article on the penultimate ruling before retirement of the first Arab to sit in the Israeli High Court condemning same-sex’ discrimination in surrogacy. (That article continued on page 4, with a picture of … a Jewish professor weighing in. Racism is by far not absent in the Left. Also, the whole paper also had one token picture of a woman; all the other portrays were of men (12) or groups of people (21) – in which sometimes women too (9). Sexism is never far behind racism.) Not in the paper Haaretz but on its website, a Conservative rabbi explained why he would march too. This is worse than silly, because instead of bragging that the Conservative movement is way ahead of Orthodoxy, a more humble apology for over four decades of oppression would have been more opportune.

The four-quires Jerusalem Post of course had a color picture at the top of the front page. In the caption it also mentioned, thanks to broad security measures, the widely reported enormous knife that police found on a counter-demonstrator. (Haaretz did not mention it.)

Surprisingly, Arutz 7, which never had much trouble giving the floor to anyone and everyone who saw reason to trash homosexuals (here the most recent assault), now had three positive stories: about the President, about Lapid and a lengthy rabbinic opinion piece that the Torah forbids hurting [gay] people.

I found a video of this year’s march that looks like a faithful reflection.

The sentence in one report that members of the GLBTQIA community still suffer from discrimination is the understatement of the year.

Homophobia is a real disease. Just like anti-Semitism, anyone can have it. This depends largely on people’s personal history.

  • Someone may be extremely religious or traditional, but if their mother came out as lesbian quite some time again, chances are that this person condemns any animosity towards gays.
  • Another may be very liberal of progressive, but for some reason only knows gays from a distance but just hates them.
  • The bug can be found in someone who is a Reform Jew who suddenly quotes the Bible to justify and sanctify their homophobia.
  • It can be absent in someone who’s a racist and a sexist and a snob but happens to understand that GLBTQs need intimacy just like they need it.
  • Someone may make terrible jokes but when confronted say sorry and do their best to be gay-friendly from then on.
  • Another may be extremely well-mannered and friendly but suddenly blurt out that they hate the despicable gays.

A hater may be:

  • A woman (though generally women are more friendly),
  • An academic (though they are supposed to have more grip on primitive emotions),
  • A modern, not so old person (though older people tend to be more set in their likes and dislikes),
  • Someone who is heavily oppressed themselves (though you would have hoped that they would recognize oppression on others), or
  • Someone living free lifestyle (though you would think that they would keep far from all overprincipledness).

So you can only distinguish friend from foe by asking or confronting them. There is no reliable telltale sign if someone is against or with homosexuals. Rabbi Boteach holds that familiarity sorts out most people.

In any case, experience teaches that if a hostile person is someone who loved a homosexual when they told them, and they haven’t hurt them (cheated on them), eventually they’ll come around, generally. Even if their first reaction is terrible, most people straighten themselves out over time. Such is the power of love.