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Reflecting on the Shooting in Tel Aviv

Written By: Melanie August 12, 2009 One Comment

tel-aviv-0011Picture it: Wednesday, August 5, 2009. Per a story carried by the Associated Press, the American Psychological Association declares that therapists should avoid directing gay clients toward treatment designed to “cure” them of their sexuality. Instead, the APA advocates a more sensible approach, such as introducing celibacy as an option to relieve conflict, or suggesting that a given patient consider channeling his/her faith in the direction of a religion that exhibits tolerance over unwavering fundamentalism.

This development is interesting because at about the same time an online article reported about a candlelight vigil being held in Dallas in the wake of last weekend’s shooting at a gay community center in Tel Aviv, Israel. According to reports in the New York Times, the BBC, and other news outlets, a lone masked gunman entered the basement facility, Café Noir, and unleashed a spray of bullets leaving two dead and eleven more injured. Witnesses describe the scene as a “slaughterhouse” and note that not all the youth who frequented the establishment were out to their parents, thus further complicating an already difficult situation. The two that were slain have been identified as Nir Katz (26) and Liz Trobishi (16); meanwhile, the gunman remains at large.

Incredibly, police officials were originally quick to classify the shooting as a hate crime rather than a terrorist attack, which is almost understandable given the frequency with which terrorism occurs in the Middle East. On the other hand, how are these things really different? After all, intimidation—often through violence—is one of the hallmarks of terrorists. Sure, it’s easy to think that nationalism is at the core of terrorism. At the same time, however, surely a large-scale hate crime such as this is designed to intimidate. If it weren’t, would Tel Aviv city officials have ordered the temporary closures of the city’s gay clubs? Thankfully, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, cut through the semantic red-tape and declared that, yes, the shooting has thtel-aviv-003e markings of terrorism (per the Jerusalem Post). Of course, public policy and public perception are two different things. The latter is particularly tricky. For example, in a BBC news report, hotel employee Yaron Arad states, “We know that Tel Aviv has a very lively gay community with plenty of activities going around.” He further adds, “That’s actually the surprising issue, there is not at all any homophobic activity in Tel Aviv.” On the other hand, according to the same BBC report, orthodox extremists frequently target Gay Pride activities in Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. In 2005, for example, three people were stabbed during a Jerusalem Gay Pride parade. The perpetrator, Yshai Schlisel, proclaimed his purpose was to kill the participants “in the name of God.”

All of which brings us back to the APA. Youth First Texas applauds mental health care professionals who want to enlighten their patients—and the world with them—by suggesting a change from hardcore religious beliefs to those of tolerance and acceptance. Deep inside, however, we still hurt.

In an effort to show our support, YFT  held a moment of silence to honor those who were effected by these tragic events, and we also put together a care package for the Tel Aviv youth center where the massacres occurred.

One Comment »

  • Eyrev said:

    This is awful. As a gay Israeli man, it pains me to see this happen. They are in my prayers.


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