A young haredi man was accosted by a large group of gay parade marchers on Friday, who verbally assaulted him and attempted to bait him into a fight.
Itzik, who asked that his last name not be revealed, found himself confronted by a large group of marchers as he made his way home from Tel Aviv on Friday. He noted that he comes to Tel Aviv each and every Friday before Shabbat to encourage passersby to try wearing tefillin (phylacteries).
“Every week at this time for a few years already I come to this area in Tel Aviv and offer people to merit in the mitzvah of putting on tefillin,” Itzik told Kikar HaShabbat. “Also this week I went to the same place [in Tel Aviv] to put tefillin on people in the area, and when the time came for me to leave, I gathered the tefillin and headed off towards the bus stop [so I could get back in time] to get ready for Shabbat.”
Unfortunately for Itzik, the way to the bus stop passed close to the Tel Aviv gay pride parade. As he proceeded towards the bus stop, marchers hurled epithets at Itzik, attempting to goad him into responding in kind.
“Just as I was about to reach the bus stop, I see a group of people in front of me who, based on their clothes, identify with the [gay] community, and they began cursing at me and mocking religion just because of my haredi clothing.”
Itzik was quick to emphasize that he had done nothing to provoke the marchers, and was simply passing by on his way to the bus stop.
“It’s important for me to note that prior to this I hadn’t said a thing to them, I had simply walked innocently by. Even when they began hurling epithets at me, I continued to walk by as if nothing had happened. More people gathered there [in front of me], who tried to bait me into responding to them.”
Itzik noted that there were also some marchers who tried to calm the agitators.
“It’s a shame that the same people who are calling for equal rights and recognizing the other don’t know themselves how to respect someone who doesn’t look like them whose only sin was to walk by in haredi clothing.”