Anti-Gay Protesters in Israel
By Jonathan Lis
Police suspect that ultra-Orthodox Jews may have planted a bomb near Beit Shemesh to protest this year’s planned gay pride parade in Jerusalem. The bomb exploded Friday, lightly wounding a laborer near the West Bank separation fence when his tractor rode over the explosive.
Fliers protesting this year’s parade and mentioning the one that took place last year were found near the site of the bomb, police said. An uproar over the 2006 gay pride parade in Jerusalem, which was postponed from August to November in part because of security considerations, involved ultra-Orthodox threats of violence.
Jerusalem police chief Ilan Franco ordered an nvestigation team to examine the circumstances of the blast.
Police officials said they were surprised at the incident, since it is not clear what the connection is between anti-parade protests and the vineyard belonging to the Beit Jamal monastery, where the bomb was found. Police are examining the possibility that ultra-Orthodox Jews from the nearby Ramat Beit Shemesh were involved in the incident.
The small-to-medium pipe bomb was apparently intended to target the tractor. The tractor driver was treated for a leg injury at Jerusalem’s Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Kerem.
Security forces scoured the area for any additional explosives that may have been planted there.
In 2005 an ultra-Orthodox protester stabbed a marcher in the gay pride parade, but despite rampant threats of violence, most such parades in Jerusalem have passed relatively peacefully.