July 28, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
The Jewish LGBTIQ+ community in Australia has responded with “shock and revulsion” to news of a brutal attack against a 16-year-old youth at a LGBTIQ+ youth hostel in Tel Aviv on Friday.
According to reports, a teenager was seriously wounded just outside the hostel when he was stabbed in the chest and leg, apparently for religious reasons, by his own brother.
The incident comes within days of the 10th anniversary of the murder of a 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl and the injuring of at least fifteen others, most of them minors, at the “Bar-Noar” LGBTIQ+ youth centre in Tel Aviv on 1 August 2009. It is also five years since 16-year-old Shira Banki was stabbed to death at Jerusalem’s gay pride parade.
Commenting on the latest incident, Aleph Melbourne co-convenor Michael Barnett said, “The attack on a resident at an LGBTIQ+ youth emergency centre is a chilling reminder of how much harder we need to work to break down the intolerance and ignorance that exists in many communities”.
“The 2009 attack in Tel Aviv was the catalyst for a remarkable transformation in the Jewish community in Australia, and as a result our community has come to value the importance of including and embracing its LGBTIQ+ people” Barnett said. “We are a better, stronger and more cohesive community as a result, although we also know there is much more work to do. Beliefs and attitudes that incite hate and violence are never acceptable, and we must call them out in all their forms. Our thoughts are with the injured boy and wish him a full and speedy recovery.”
Co-CEO of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Peter Wertheim, described Friday’s stabbing as “extremely disturbing”.
“Israel has made great strides in recent years in encouraging respect for and acceptance of LGBTIQ+ people, and it is light years ahead of neighbouring countries”’ Wertheim said. “But there is still a long way to go. In Israel, as elsewhere, LGBTIQ+ people still face all too frequent acts of violence motivated by hatred in a social climate that is inflamed by bigoted statements from people in positions of authority. We hope the young man who was attacked makes a full and speedy recovery and that his ordeal serves to spur political and religious leaders to greater efforts to stamp out anti-LGBTIQ+ violence, and the hatred that gives rise to it.”