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Two killed in Tel-Aviv hate crime on gay youth club
August 3, 2009 2:37 AM   Subscribe

Saturday, Aug 1, a gunman walked into a gay youth club in Tel Aviv at app. 22:40 pm and started firing a gun indiscriminately at the teenagers who were there. Twelve were injured, four of them in critical condition, and two were instantly killed.

Some background.

That same night, hundreds of people rallied the streets of Tel Aviv in protest.
"This grave incident should awaken society to rid itself of prejudice. We must accept and recognize the right of every person to live safely and with dignity."
Tzipi Livni, opposition leader, at a rally held at the site of the shooting the following day.
I was there when it happened.
posted by alona (49 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wasn't there another thread about this today? It seems to have disappeared.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:59 AM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


A bit before posting this thread I looked around. There was no other thread at that point, so I guess it's gone.
posted by alona at 3:02 AM on August 3, 2009


alona, are you saying you were at the gay youth club during the shooting?
posted by mediareport at 3:05 AM on August 3, 2009


The earlier, deleted thread.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:07 AM on August 3, 2009


yeah, i was there when the shooting happened. out of around 25 people that were there, about 6-8 of us got out unscathed.
posted by alona at 3:13 AM on August 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Do you have any idea who the shooter was? I would initially suspect some Haredi who went batshitinsane, but the shooting being in Tel Aviv makes that slightly less likely...
posted by PenDevil at 3:16 AM on August 3, 2009


Wow. That must have been terrifying. I'm amazed that there has been no news on the culprit.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:18 AM on August 3, 2009


Our initial suspicion was that it was some Haredi, however it is apparent that there are new leads that the police aren't talking about. All I know about the shooter is that he was dressed all in black and had a black head-covering to hide his face.
posted by alona at 3:18 AM on August 3, 2009


I've very sorry you went through what you did, alona. What were you doing in Israel?
posted by item at 3:41 AM on August 3, 2009


Haredim (often translated as "ultra Orthodox) don't usually do army service. Few would have experience with weapons; fewer would have access to them. Also, an irregular nightclub for gay teens in Tel Aviv would almost certainly be below the radar of someone living in a Haredi community. I'm sure more details will come out soon, but it doesn't sound like a random attack on gays.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:42 AM on August 3, 2009


Yeah, Haredim don't attack gays, Haredim are hardly ever violent, and if they are it's not against gays, it's against "immodest" women.
posted by orthogonality at 4:18 AM on August 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I seem to recall some incidents involving the Orthodox being pretty damn handy with guns. As for a strict religious group not knowing about gay stuff...well, we know how that one works...

So you may be right Joe, not because of your premises have any truth or logical force, but because the world is a crazy complex place where sometimes shit happens.

However, I'd put my money on a hate crime in this case.
posted by srboisvert at 4:18 AM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Comments have eliminated the ultras; the mob, very active in and around TelAviv, would not bother--there is no money to be made in such killings...so we simply do not as yet know. Might be a single nutter who hates gays. Any number of countries have such crazies. Reward offered?
posted by Postroad at 4:22 AM on August 3, 2009


I was there when it happened.

I lived with a gay Israeli last year so I've been following this case closely. I'm glad you got out. I hope you have a lot of support from friends, relatives and the authorities.
posted by Kattullus at 4:28 AM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Glad you're ok, alona.
posted by orme at 4:30 AM on August 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


No way the shooter could have been Haredi:
“This is not a fight between democracy and dictatorship,” said Rabbi Efraim Holtzberg, a Jerusalem Haredi leader. “It’s a fight between holiness and abomination.”

“No one cares what people do in their bedrooms,” he continued, “but it is not normal that people go around half-naked in the holy city. It’s not democratic. It’s a dictatorship of the minorities. It’s a provocation against millions of religious people to allow a parade because a few homos want to walk around in their underwear. They need to respect the city they live in.”.....

Several Haredi leaders announced they were planning to place a curse on the [Gay Pride] parade organizers and possibly on Israel’s attorney general, Menachem Mazuz, who authorized the event. Casting the pulsa d’nura curse requires a group of at least 10 religious Jewish men, all of whom are married and have children. It is said to bring the death of its object within a year. Haredim last used it some 40 years ago against a Jerusalem mayor, who died a few months later.... [emphasis added]

Days before the parade was to take place, the Jerusalem police reached an agreement with Open House, the gay rights center, to move the route to a district of museums and government offices, far from residential and commercial areas of town. Haredim continued to demonstrate. Finally the parade was canceled altogether and replaced by a rally at the Hebrew University sports stadium.....

....many, including Haredim, saw the cancellation of the parade as a concession to the Haredi pressure. “It was quite a nice win,” Holtzberg said. “The streets of Jerusalem stayed clean. The sanctity of Jerusalem won over the dirt of Sodom and Gomorrah, baruch Hashem. But I think next year there will be another fight like this.”
posted by orthogonality at 4:39 AM on August 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Casting the pulsa d’nura curse requires a group of at least 10 religious Jewish men, all of whom are married and have children.

Man, it must be hard to find ten grumpy old Jews who wish the all the gays in Israel would immediately face their maker.
posted by pracowity at 4:53 AM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good grief, alona. I read this story last night and my heart just sunk; this sort of thing is beyond heartbreaking; I just feel a sort of growing, terrible outrage when I think about it.

If you don't want to go into an details, I understand, but if there is anything you want to share about what you witnessed, it would provide us a perspective we're not going to get from the news. Anyway, I am very, very sorry about this, and very sorry you had to be witness to such a monstrous act of violence.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:01 AM on August 3, 2009


Funny, nothing from this expatriate aussie. Sorry to hear about your experience alona.
posted by tellurian at 5:02 AM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wasn't there a case a while ago (last year?) where some American Christian fundamentalists were arrested in Israel planning to blow things up to bring about the Apocalypse and the second coming? Could the gunman have been one of those? (They'd probably have more experience with guns too.)
posted by acb at 5:15 AM on August 3, 2009


alona, I'm so sorry you were there and I'm glad you made it out. What a terrible thing.
posted by Your Time Machine Sucks at 5:22 AM on August 3, 2009


I suspect the shooter could be anybody with a grudge and a gun. Until we know more, speculating about who the shooter was and what his motivations might be doesn't strike me as anything better than idle. I mean, homophobia from the haredi or American fundamentalism is a subject worth discussing, but discussing about whether they could or could not have committed this atrocity doesn't seem to be more than pointing fingers without any real evidence, and we might be better served in waiting until there is more information before suggesting that one group or another may have collective responsibility for this atrocity.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:22 AM on August 3, 2009 [16 favorites]


I agree with Astro Zombie, on both counts. alona, my heart goes out to you.
posted by blucevalo at 5:24 AM on August 3, 2009


acb, "When you hear hoofbeats in Central Park, think horses, not zebras."
posted by orthogonality at 5:24 AM on August 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


srboisvert wrote: I seem to recall some incidents involving the Orthodox being pretty damn handy with guns.

Different Orthodox. In Israel those would be described as Mizrachi. They certainly do do army service and they'd see nothing ideologically wrong in owning a weapon or practicing its use.

Orthogonality helpfully referred to a story which said that "Several Haredi leaders announced they were planning to place a curse on the [Gay Pride] parade organizers and possibly on Israel’s attorney general, Menachem Mazuz .."

That's my point. Rabbi Holtzberg's idea of a militant strategy consists of placing tactical curses on a parade. Somebody with that sort of mindset is unlikely to have recourse to automatic weapons. Which is a rather good thing. And downtown Tel Aviv is a long way from Haredi suburbs of Jerusalem, both physically and mentally. Obviously I don't know that it wasn't a Haredi who did this, but both the target and the method speak against it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:36 AM on August 3, 2009


Are guns as freely available in Israel as they are in the US?
posted by double block and bleed at 5:36 AM on August 3, 2009


I'm so sorry you went through that, alona, and I'm glad you're okay (physically, I mean -- I can't imagine what going through that must have been like). As Astro Zombie said, if you want to talk about what happened and any further updates we're not going anywhere, but please take care of yourself first.
posted by bettafish at 5:37 AM on August 3, 2009


Are guns as freely available in Israel as they are in the US?

On my last trip there I saw plenty of kids in army uniform carrying around their issued M-16s (magazines out, safetys on) on the street and on public transport. I don't recall seeing any other private citizens carrying pistols although I did notice security guards (who are everywhere and who seemed to be all armed with Glocks) ask me if I was carrying any weapons every now and then.
posted by PenDevil at 5:51 AM on August 3, 2009


Somebody with that sort of mindset is unlikely to have recourse to automatic weapons.

You know, because murdering with prayer is so demonstratively effective.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:02 AM on August 3, 2009


"When you hear hoofbeats in Central Park, think horses, not zebras."

Or maybe somebody left the zoo doors open.
posted by signal at 6:34 AM on August 3, 2009


.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:28 AM on August 3, 2009


But we're the badguys.

Riiiiight.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:42 AM on August 3, 2009


Attention world:

Please leave gay folks the hell alone.

Regards, families and friends of gay folks
posted by jquinby at 7:57 AM on August 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


Police Claim Lead in Tel Aviv Attack: Explore 'Personal Feud' Motive.
posted by ericb at 8:39 AM on August 3, 2009


out of around 25 people that were there, about 6-8 of us got out unscathed.

I'm glad you few got out safely. My heart breaks that the rest had to die for society's hate.

.
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:41 AM on August 3, 2009


It is said to bring the death of its object within a year. Haredim last used it some 40 years ago against a Jerusalem mayor, who died a few months later....

"Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?"
posted by Mental Wimp at 8:46 AM on August 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was there when it happened.

I'm glad you got out safely.

From the first link: The black-clad man is still at large and police have ordered the temporary closure of all gay clubs in the city.

I found this curious. In these kinds of stories, the shooter almost always ends as a suicide, so everyone is left to wonder what the motivation was. I look forward to the guy getting caught.
posted by quin at 9:46 AM on August 3, 2009


Horrible.

.
posted by namespan at 9:46 AM on August 3, 2009


I'm glad you few got out safely. My heart breaks that the rest had to die for society's hate.

Two were killed, 12 others injured, four in critical condition, so others lived through it as well, thankfully.

So sorry you went through this alona -- I hope you have a good support network to take advantage of...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 10:06 AM on August 3, 2009


police have ordered the temporary closure of all gay clubs in the city

Wow; so much for holding the line and not letting the terrorists win.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:15 AM on August 3, 2009


Alona, I am so very glad you got out safely and unscathed, and my heart breaks for the people who were killed and injured. I am infuriated that any of you had to go through any of this in any way.

Did I say unscathed? No, allow me to withdraw that. Nobody in that club escaped unscathed. I hope that you and the rest of the survivors may find peace while you go through the inevitable mental journey to process this terrible incident.

I hope those vicious, hateful, cowardly murderers are brought swiftly to justice.

THIS. MUST. END.



.
posted by perilous at 11:45 AM on August 3, 2009


I hope those vicious, hateful, cowardly murderers are brought swiftly to justice.

Hear, hear. And that those who support and enable the perpetrators with their own hatred and venom are denied a place and voice in our world.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:26 PM on August 3, 2009


alona, that is terrifying; I'm so glad you're ok.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:12 PM on August 3, 2009


alona, I am glad you escaped unharmed. My heart broke when I heard of this story yesterday. I hope the shooter is apprehended, soon, without any further attacks.
posted by sugarfish at 6:33 PM on August 3, 2009


orthogonality: Casting the pulsa d’nura curse requires a group of at least 10 religious Jewish men, all of whom are married and have children. It is said to bring the death of its object within a year. Haredim last used it some 40 years ago against a Jerusalem mayor, who died a few months later.... [emphasis added]

I think it'd be funny to bring in members of some other spellcasting religion, like maybe the Wiccans, to publically counterspell such attempts.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:24 PM on August 3, 2009


Oh, certainly that should be practitioners of Santeria / Voudoun. When they spellcast, it's a real hoodoo.
posted by hippybear at 1:03 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


alona, refuah shlema to you and the other survivors. (I sent you an email with more detailed greetings)

dbab: Are guns as freely available in Israel as they are in the US?

In a word, I'd say no, but the issue isn't only the availability of guns.
* I don't know if this is literally, statistically accurate, but I'd say there's nowhere near the number of gun shops per capita in Israel as in the US.
* The majority of Israeli Jewish men serve in the IDF, and therefore receive at least basic (and sometimes very advanced) firearms training relatively early in life.
* Beyond the practical training, IDF service inculcates a sense of national community that is completely foreign in the US, and which I think (again, I don't have social science stats to back this up) contributes to the lower per capita crime rate in Israel (somebody please look this up to back me up/debunk me).
* There are actually quite a few civilians carrying in Israel, not including the ubiquitous security guards. Not sure if the rules have changed, but when I served, all IDF veterans who'd had officers' ranks on active duty were eligible to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in civilian life. Permits are available to others as well, but I think they are/were based on need, as determined by what kind of work you did and where.

I can't think of the last time I heard about a "random shooting" in Israel of this kind (I'm not counting domestic violence incidents and mob violence), while I remember VERY well the last time that a civilian with a gun helped end an urban terrorist attack (bulldozer attack last summer while I was in Jerusalem, blocks from the apartment I was in).
posted by yiftach at 9:21 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some of you guys wanted to hear the story from my point of view, and what I went through, so here's a link to my blog.
posted by alona at 1:17 PM on August 7, 2009


Thank you for sharing that, alona. It was a heartbreaking, gripping and informative interview.
posted by Kattullus at 8:22 PM on August 7, 2009


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