When I’m in Israel, I photograph graffiti- the political, the religious, the secular, the confusing, the desperate, manic scribblings on mailboxes and bus stops. A lot of it is new, some endures from years ago, like “homo=ill.”
I’m not surprised to see it, its Jerusalem, after all. Since I’ve been here, Anat Hoffman has been arrested for carrying a sefer Torah across the Kotel plaza. The other day, when a friend offered to teach me how to wrap tefillin, she told me for our own safety, it was better to do it behind closed doors in her apartment. At the same time as I’m desperately sad to leave, I’m finding myself frustrated by this city in a way I don’t remember before. Where are the progressives, the radical lefties? Where are the secular change makers? What would I do if I lived here? Who would be my people?
This Saturday marks the 1 year anniversary of the attack on the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association in which 2 people died and 13 were injured. It will be commemorated with a march and a unique dialogue-Israelis will travel to Berlin to meet with folks from a German gay youth center to hear one another’s stories, and strategize around protecting queer communities.
Tomorrow is also Jerusalem Pride. The strangeness of these two events happening in the same week is remarkable, the anniversary of a hate crime and a celebration of pride and strength. My flight from Israel to the States leaves just in time for me to miss Jerusalem Pride, and for that, I feel enormous regret. I want to be marching, I want to be part of building a better Jerusalem. I want new graffiti.