Slogan supporting late racist rabbi Meir Kahane found on LGBTQ center in Tel Aviv

Police launched an investigation Saturday after graffiti celebrating the late racist rabbi Meir Kahane was found on a wall outside Tel Aviv’s LGBTQ Community Center.

The slogan “Kahane lives” was emblazoned on the outer wall and window of the building, located on Aluf Albert Mandler Street in Tel Aviv. The phrase shows support for Kahane, a one-time member of Knesset for the racist Kach party he founded and was murdered at a New York City hotel in November 1990 by an Egyptian-American jihadist.

Later on Saturday, the word Kahane was removed, and the popular demand “long live the nation of Israel” was replaced.

The Aguda Association for LGBTQ Equality said the incident was a “warning sign” of violent attacks against the community in the future.

“LGBT phobia is already running wild,” the organization said in a statement. “Last week, we saw a four percent increase in the number of reports of LGBT phobia in the public space, and in demonstrations by members of the public that involved cursing, spitting, threats, pride flag burning and even physical violence.”

“It is the responsibility of the government to condemn this hatred and act before it is too late to promise full personal security to members of the LGBT community,” the organization said.

The LGBTQ community has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the hard-line coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government’s now stalled judicial reform plan, fearing that a severely weakened judicial system would leave members of their community at risk of discrimination .

In a report published in March, the Aguda said it recorded 3,300 hate incidents against the LGBTQ community in 2022, an 11% increase compared to 2021. The report did not provide details on the nature of those attacks.

Almost half of the reported incidents took place in Tel Aviv and the central region of Israel. Nearly 20% occurred in Jerusalem and surrounding areas, the report said.

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