Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, said on Wednesday that he will not attend Thursday’s LGBT Pride Parade in the city, explaining that the event offends religious sentiments, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“I stand by their right to march, but we must remember that there are people who are offended from the existence of the parade,” Barkat told Army Radio.
“Everyone always interprets this in a political manner,” he said. “The sentiment of my public is important to me. I’m trying to see how I can take moves in favor of one part of the population without hurting the other.”
Several hundred police officers will be deployed to provide security during this year’s parade after Yishai Schlissel, a religious extremist, stabbed 16-year-old Shira Banki to death at the 2015 event and wounded six others.
Schlissel, who was released from prison days before last year’s parade for carrying out a similar attack in 2005, was sentenced to life imprisonment in June.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said the multiple units being deployed will be extra meticulous, refusing to leave anything to chance, especially in light of the expected record turnout.