Jerusalem Mayor Says 'WorldPride' Will Provoke the Holy City

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:15pm EDT

Jerusalem ( - Jerusalem's Mayor Uri Lupolianski opposes the idea of holding an international homosexual rally in his city next year because he said it would provoke the city's residents.

InterPride, the International Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Pride Coordinators, chose Jerusalem -- sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims -- as the location of WorldPride 2005, an international LGBT event scheduled for next August.

It would be the second WorldPride event ever. The first, held in Rome in 2000 during the Vatican's jubiliee year, drew homosexuals from around the world.

Lupolianski, Jerusalem's first Orthodox Jewish mayor, would like to stop the event from taking place.

"The mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski, is against holding the WorldPride event in Jerusalem," Jerusalem Municipality spokesman Giddy Schmerling said in a written response to a query from

"This is due to fear that religious and conservative groups will view the event as a provocation and that the parade will instigate massive protests," Schmerling said.

However, Schmerling did not say if the mayor was taking any action to try to prevent the event from taking place.

The Jerusalem homosexual community held its third annual parade in the city last week, to Lupolianski's chagrin. So far, the parades have not drawn massive protests.

"This is a horrible parade. It is not only ugly; it's also a provocation," Lupolianski said in a radio interview last week. "It's not appropriate for the city, and it offends the sensibilities of its residents. Even people distant from Jerusalem must grasp that this is a sacred city for the Jewish people and the world as a whole."

Lupolianski said that Jerusalem was a "Holy City" at "its very essence" and therefore should not hold such a public display.

"There is a difference between everyone dancing his own dance as usual, and having a parade, which is an attempt to jump up and stomp on the toes of the general public," he said. He added that if he could have stopped the parade legally he would have.

Hagai El-Ad, director of the Jerusalem Open House, the LGBT center in the city, said attempts to stop the parade had failed, just as any "similar attempts in the future will."

Only a handful of religious Jews protested last week's parade. Many Jerusalemites have expressed their opposition to holding such events in their city but most have chosen simply to ignore them.

Jonathan Rosenblum, director of Am Echad, an Orthodox Jewish media organization, said that for the most part religious Jews feel that large demonstrations don't accomplish anything.

Earlier, former Tourism Minister Benny Elon said he would not invest money in the WorldPride event because it would not help tourism and might even offend tourists who come to the "center of the Holy Land.""

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.

MRC Store