The two victims of the attack on a GLBT youth Center in Tel Aviv. Top, Nir Katz, a counsellor at the center, and Liz Trubeshi, not yet 17.
(Photos: Nir Katz from APF & Liz Trubechi, Tomeriko)
Nir Katz, who was murdered Saturday in the shooting attack on the gay youth center in Tel Aviv, was laid to rest in the Modiin cemetery Sunday evening.
His sister Chen lamented, “We should waive the gay flag and realize where empty hate can lead. The family fully supports the gay community – this struggle starts here.” According to the family, Nir had been a counsellor at the center for over three years. He lived with his partner of four years.
The family members of Liz Trubeshi, almost 17, remained closed off in their home in Holon. “We are hurting and are having a hard time. It’s hard to talk about it,” said Liz’s aunt Cindy.
Liz’ classmate in the Kiryat Sharett campus in Holon said of her, “She was very quiet in class. A closed-off and introverted person. I don’t know what to say, she didn’t even turn 17. She didn’t talk about her sexual orientation but was very open on the gay-lesbian issue.” (Yaheli Moran Zelikovich and Yael Levy contributed to this report)
Israeli Activists Speak Out
Adir Steiner, one of the central pillars in the gay community in Israel and coordinator of Tel Aviv pride events, got word of the shooting while in Copenhagen as a representative of the city of Tel Aviv to the gay Olympics. “Over the past week we have painted Israel on every possible podium as a wonderful place for homosexuals, lesbians and transgenders. This idyllic state which we wanted so badly to believe in exploded in our faces,” he said.
Steiner further stated, “At this moment I think the main thing that should be voiced is that no murderer will get us back in the closet. We shall proudly keep fighting for our right to live our lives without fear, even if today the road before us seems longer than ever.”
‘Tel Aviv bubble burst’
Steiner also added that whoever shot at youths in the center meant to burst the “idyllic bubble” that is Tel Aviv. “These shots were directed at all of us. The message is clear: Someone, somewhere is lurking, waiting for all of us with a loaded gun, wishing us dead. This is very serious and is not just a problem of the community but of Israeli society at large.”
World Press Covers Killings
The murderous killing spree on the gay and lesbian youth center in Tel Aviv received wide coverage in foreign media around the world. The Los Angels Times, which reported the incident on its website’s homepage wrote, “The crime shook the freewheeling coastal city, which has a reputation as a relatively tolerant place for gay people and focused criticism on Israel’s ultra-Orthodox religious community for calling homosexuality an abomination.” (See Daily Horse Commentary on Hate Speech in Israel here)
The British Broadcasting Corporation, which reported extensively on the manhunt after the shooter, also emphasized that the attack on the gay center was Israel’s worst hate crime against the community. Swedish newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet reported the incident as the headlining story on its website. (Nir Magal contributed to this report)