On Saturday, August 1, 2009, a masked gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon on a youth group run by the Aguda, an LGBT community center in Tel Aviv, Israel, killing a young woman (Liz Trobishi, age 17) and a young man (Nir Katz, age 26), and injuring several other young people seriously.
The police have since increased security around other potential targets while government officials, including the Prime Minister, have made statements that significant resources are being used to capture the shooter and any accomplices.
On Sunday, August 2, spontaneous vigils were held in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Beer Sheva protesting the shooting and supporing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Israel. The Minister of Education joined one of these events. Similar vigils have been occurring or are planned in several cities outside of Israel, including London, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is greatly saddened by this tragedy and condemns it as a hate crime. We express our deepest condolences to the friends and families of Liz Trobishi and Nir Katz, those who were injured in the shooting, the members of the targeted center, and the LGBT community in Israel.
IGLHRC is concerned for the young people who were forcibly outed to their families when they were injured by the gunfire. We hope that safe spaces in Tel Aviv and all over the country can continue to be ensured for youth to express themselves honestly and without fear.
All people have the right to life, security, freedom of association, and expression. These rights can only be fully enjoyed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Israel – or anywhere else – when the government commits and acts to respect, protect and fulfill human rights for all.
IGLHRC is reassured that the Israeli LGBT community is being protected through additional security and a prompt and thorough investigation of the attack. We also hope that this tragedy will encourage Israelis to come together to address and eradicate the roots of homophobia, which allow these crimes to flourish.
IGLHRC continues to monitor the situation and is in communication with LGBT activists in Israel who are responding to the emergency.
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