Jerusalem's City Council meets on top of Old City Walls (Video grab)

On the occasion of Jerusalem Day which took place last Friday, members of the Jerusalem City Council held a festive meeting on Sunday on the walls of the Old City. The festive atmosphere was marred when a heated discussion broke out following a statement that upset the LGBTQ community made by one of the council members.

During the festive meeting, the chairman of the "Awakening" movement, an LGBTQ activist group, Adir Schwartz, proposed a series of measures designed to improve the status of the city's residents who belong to the LGBTQ community. Among other things, Schwartz proposed to send an official representative from the municipality to the pride parade in the city, to train service providers from the municipality to be adapted to the needs of the community, and to commit to condemning any LGBT-phobic violence in the capital.

The topic that came up for discussion caused a stir. Yoni Yosef, a member of the city council on behalf of the "United Jerusalem" list, interrupted Schwartz's words and said: "This is a topic that most of the city's residents are not interested in. Jerusalem is one of the four holy cities, there are plenty of psychologists and psychiatrists 鈥 Is the treatment of subtracting and adding, or changing gender for a 9-year-old girl okay?"

Councilor and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Aryeh King also expressed himself in the heated debate and added: "If they [LGBTQ residents] are normal, why do they need separate budgets?" During the meeting, criticism was heard of Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, who did not interrupt his deputy. "Mr. Mayor, the fact that you allow your deputy to speak like that, proves that you approve of it," he was told. Afterward, Leon shrugged off the accusations: "I would prefer that these things were not said."

Adir Schwartz, chairman of the 鈥淎wakening鈥 movement, said following the incident: "Dark and nasty words spoken by council members who are supposed to serve all the residents of the city. The proposal I made yesterday at the council meeting, concerns human beings. The hateful attitude and the shocking words that were said are a direct continuation of a policy that brought Jerusalem to the bottom of the Pride index. When these are the members of Moshe Leon's coalition; no wonder this is the situation in Jerusalem, which only eight years ago knew of the shocking murder of the late Shira Banki, which was based on hatred and incitement."

MK Yorai Lahav Hartzno from the Yish Atid party released a statement after the incident: "We are not broken, not sick, and do not need medical treatment or repair. I expect Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon to condemn the shocking things that were said in his presence on behalf of his deputy. Looking forward to marching next week in the pride parade in Jerusalem, which is expected to be the largest in the history of our capital."

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