Right-wingers try to remove pride flag from Tel Aviv balcony, twice in a week


A group of right-wing counter-demonstrators attempted to pull down a pride flag from a balcony in Tel Aviv on Saturday, amid massive protests against the government’s judicial reform.

A resident of the apartment told media outlets that this was the second time that week that passers-by tried to take down the flag. The previous incident happened on Monday, also during a mass demonstration.

Saturday’s incident was captured on a security camera, filmed from across the street.

“I was sitting in the lounge and I heard a group of right-wing demonstrators passing the house,” Shoval, 26, told Channel 12, recounting Monday’s incident. “I opened the window and tried to drive them out, but they managed to tear half the blanket, swear at me, and throw a cane at me.”

He said he contacted the police, but they failed to respond. Then, on Saturday night, a second group of right-wing counter-protesters attempted to destroy the flag.

“I was sitting in my room when I suddenly heard shouting from the street,” he said. “I heard some kids and teenagers swearing and shouting, ‘Come down and we’ll beat you up.’ Suddenly I heard two loud bangs. I ran to the window and it was clear to me that they were shouting at my roommate.”

Shoval said his roommate tried to stop the demonstrators from removing the flag, but they swore and threw stones at him. He said the police arrived 15 minutes after repeatedly contacting them.

“I felt like they were powerless and didn’t know what to do to prevent this and take care of it,” Shoval said, adding that he feared what would happen at the next demonstration .

“Yesterday it was stones, next time it could be a Molotov cocktail,” he said, adding that both right-wing and left-wing protesters pass by his house, and that he hoping the police will do more to combat the violence.

Demonstrators for extrajudicial reform held large rallies on Monday in Jerusalem and Thursday in Tel Aviv, the first of its kind. Supporters of the plans plan to hold a “million-person rally” later this month to show massive public support for the controversial plan.

“It’s scary living here, it’s scary being in the LGBTQ community here, and it hurts me to say that this is just the beginning for us,” he said.

In response, the police said they would launch an investigation as soon as a formal complaint is filed.

Graffiti found on the wall of the Tel Aviv LGBTQ Community Center, April 1, 2023. (Police)

Also on Saturday, the slogan “Kahane lives” was graffitied on the outer wall and window of Tel Aviv’s LGBTQ Community center.

The phrase shows support for extremist rabbi Meir Kahane, a one-time member of Knesset for the racist Kach party he founded and was murdered at a New York City hotel in November 1990 by an Egyptian-American jihadist.

The LGBTQ community has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the hard-line coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s now stalled judicial reform plan, fearing that a severely weakened judicial system would leave members of their community at risk of discrimination .

In a report published in March, the Aguda Association for LGBTQ Equality said they recorded 3,300 hate incidents against the LGBTQ community in 2022, an 11% increase compared to 2021. The report did not provide details on the nature of the those attacks.

Almost half of the reported incidents took place in Tel Aviv and the central region of Israel. Nearly 20% occurred in Jerusalem and surrounding areas, the report said.

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