In reality, the demonstrations are being staged by a fundamentalist sect within the ultra-Orthodox community, the Edah Haredit, whose name accounts for much of the confusion.The Edah Haredit is responsible for nightly demonstrations in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, including the mass rally at Bar-Ilan Street. The organization consists of several ultra-Orthodox and anti-Zionist groups including Satmar, Toldos Aharon and Toldos Avrohom Yitzchok hasidim and Perushim.
Unlike the majority of the ultra-Orthodox community, the followers of the Edah Haredit boycotted the general elections for the Knesset, and are opposed to any sign of modernity. In less than 12 months, the group has rallied its supporters twice to protest against gay and lesbian events.The last demonstrations against a gay pride observance were in the fall, protesting plans by the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance to hold a parade in the capital at the beginning of November. After weeks of violent protests, the Open House decided to hold a limited event that was confined to a venue in the western part of the capital.The Edah is currently fighting against the gay community's intentions to hold the 2007 pride parade, which takes place Thursday. As in 2006, the struggle laid bare the internal paradox within the Edah Haredit's ranks.On the one hand, the Edah is continuing to demonstrate its anti-Zionist line and advocate a separatist approach toward the state. At the same time, however, it is displaying increasing involvement in the public life of the country, which it does not recognize.In the case of the gay parade, the Edah Haredit is attempting to "uphold the sanctity" in parts of Jerusalem that are beyond its neighborhood. The question arises: Why does the Edah care about seculars, who are leading a life of sin and abomination?The answer could not be found in the speeches by the Edah's rabbis Sunday, but it seems to be bugging its leader, Rabbi Yitzchok Tuvia Weiss, who is trying to postpone the protests for as long as possible.
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