Livni to gay Israelis: Don't let hate crime stop you living your lives
|| Tzipi Livni on Sunday urged Israel's gay and lesbian community to continue living their lives, despite the "hate crime" perpetrated in a shooting at a Tel Aviv gay youth center that left two people dead.
|| "This hate crime needs to be a turning point and to give strength," Livni told hundreds of Israelis who rallied in Tel Aviv to protest the attack, in which 15 people were also wounded.
|| "We need to give strength to the child who comes to his parents and says: 'I am gay,' or 'I am a lesbian;' and this day needs to give the strength to everyone in the gay community to live their lives."
|| "This should be a day of self reflection, not only for all of you but for all of us," she said at the event, which had been billed as a protest against hate crime and homophobia. "This is not only a great day of pain for you but it is a day of pain for all of us."
|| A number of other politicians also spoke at the rally, which was held at the intersection of Rothschild St. and Nachmani St., only meters away from the site of the shooting.
|| Nitzan Horowitz, Israel's only openly gay lawmaker, said: "If anybody thinks we'll be afraid, they are wrong. If anybody thinks we'll sit down and take this quietly, they are wrong."
|| MK Yuli Tamir (Labor), a former education minister, called on the school system to make efforts to fight homophobia. "Teachers must open their doors and open their ears to these children who need them," she told the crowd.
|| Earlier Sunday, President Shimon Peres harshly condemned the shooting. "The shocking murder in Tel Aviv last night is the kind of murder that an enlightened and cultured people cannot accept," Peres said. "Murder and hate are society's toughest crimes."
|| The president went on to say that the police force must make the utmost effort to apprehend this "lowly criminal" and that the "entire country must unite in condemning this heinous act."
|| Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also voiced shock and dismay at the attack, saying "I want to condemn the shocking murder." "I extend my condolences to the families of the victims and wish a full and quick recovery to the wounded," Netanyahu said.
|| "I want to say to the citizens of Israel - we are a democratic and tolerant country and we must respect every person as he is," the prime minister went on to say.
|| The mayor of Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai, pledged that the city would continue to maintain its pluralistic nature. "Tel Aviv will continue to provide a welcoming home for the gay and lesbian community, and we will fight for everyone's right to live their life as they see fit," he said.