The soldier accused of making violent
threats against a gay rally held in Tel Aviv Saturday and who was
arrested in Jerusalem Saturday will remain in custody, officials said
Shmuel Preimark, 20, admits he
threatened to attack a rally held in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square to
express solidarity with the gay and lesbian community after last
Saturday's attack on a gay club that left 2 dead and 11 wounded, 4
Preimark is a member of an
ultra-Orthodox Jewish Army unit, YnetNews.com reported Sunday, and is
accused of posting messages on gay websites threatening to hurt those
attending the pro-gay rally.
He allegedly wrote: “Expect more
victims among the gays, this time something bigger” and “a second
attack on the community soon. Be ready. Don't say we didn't know.”
Police say they took the soldier into
custody after he confessed to making the threats. They also
confiscated two computers from his Jerusalem home.
The arrest is certain to widen the rift
between the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, which condemns being
gay, and Israel's GLBT community.
Other threats on the rally were also
reported. Several organizers helping to bus people to the event say
they received calls threatening: “today you will get hit with
grenades, not just guns.”
Saturday's rally drew thousands –
organizers say 70,000, but other estimates pinned the crowd at
20,000. Israeli President Shimon Peres expressed strong solidarity
with the gay and lesbian community, saying: “Everyone has the right
to be different and proud. No one has the right to interfere in
other people's lives so long as everyone respects law and order. …
I came to share your tears after the death of two young innocents.
Be strong and courageous.” The event also featured performances
from many prominent Israeli artists.
But even as high-ranking politicians
and beloved artists condemned the deadly attack, a new poll released
Thursday showed nearly half of Israelis strongly disapprove of being
gay. Haaretz newspaper reported that 46% of 498 people polled
responded affirmatively to the question “do you see homosexuality
as a perversion?”
The soldier in custody, Preimark,
remains behind bars; a court extended his remand by three days on