Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
The 2017 Gay Pride Parade in central Jerusalem, August 3, 2017.

In the wake of the public storm surrounding the surrogacy law passed by the Knesset a week ago, some 30,000 marchers are expected to attend the Parade of Pride and Tolerance in Jerusalem this Thursday (last year their number reached 25,000). 2,400 Police and Border Guard officers will secure the troublesome event with assistance from the police air force and the city’s CCTV cameras.

Jerusalem Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Aryeh Stern, sent a letter to Mayor Nir Barkat requesting that the LGBT flags not be raised when the parade passes near synagogues around the city. “Unfortunately, this year too, we are planning to hold the parade that would displease our sages,” he wrote, adding, “We have already discovered that it is impossible to prevent the parade from being held, but we have one request, not to hoist the flags on King George Street in the section of the Great Synagogue and the Yeshurun Synagogue, which are considered symbols of the sanctity of Jerusalem.”

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The police has announced they plan to conduct inspections of the marchers at the entrances to the parade, in accordance with the provisions of the Powers Law for the Protection of Public Security and in coordination with parade organizers.

Police allocated a special spot for members of the anti-gay Lehava organization who plan to demonstrate against the parade.

Ninet Tayeb, Miri Messika and Dana International will be among the artists on hand Thursday.

Parade security will be supervised directly by Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh, alongside Jerusalem police chief Yoram Ha-Levy. So far, according to police, there have been no warnings of an attempted sabotage.

Heavy traffic is expected throughout the city. Entrance to parade participants will be permitted only through four passages, where each person will undergo a physical examination and receive an ID bracelet. The marchers will gather at the Bell Park starting at 3:45 PM, and at 5:15 PM will march towards Independence Park through Palomar, Keren Hayesod, King George, Hillel, and Menashe ben Israel Streets.

The streets where the parade will pass will be closed at 3 PM, as will the streets leading to them, and will open as the marchers advance. The following streets that will be closed: Agron, Hillel, King George from Keren Hayesod to Be’eri, Elhanan, Shalom Aleichem, Mapu, Ahad Ha’am, Gaza from Arlezarov to Paris Square, Avida, KKL-JNF, and Ha’Histadrut.

Motorists are requested to be patient, obey police instructions, and listen for reports that will be conveyed via the media. The GPS Waze application will be updated with info on blocked streets and the time they are re-opened to traffic.

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