Victim's Sister Recounts Attack on Tel Aviv Gay Centre

Published: April 14th 2010
in News » Israel

Rally at Rabin Squareon August 8, 2009
Pic: WikiMedia Commons
From Left to Right: Justine Apple (Executive Director of Kulanu Toronto), Atarah Derrick (Outreach & Development Associate for the New Israel Fund of Canada), and Chen Katz (sister of Nir Katz, murdered in Tel Aviv during the attack on Bar Noar)
The Aguda building in Tel Aviv, 18 days before the attack took place
Pic: WikiMedia Commons

At 10:40 pm on August 1, 2009, a man dressed in black walked into the Tel Aviv gay centre interrupting a gathering of 25 youth part. He was holding a handgun. His face was covered but you could see his eyes and catch his demeanor. “He was not crazy or insane. He looked into people’s eyes,” Chen Katz recounts, “He killed my brother Nir and [17-year-old] Liz Troubishi immediately.” With only one entrance in and out, there was nowhere to run. He shot thirteen other youth, permanently paralyzing two. Then he disappeared. At the hospital, concerned social workers began calling parents to tell them about the attack. In this way some parents learned the sexual identity of their children for the first time. Yoni, a councilor at the centre, was kicked out of his house shortly afterwards. Another father told Chen that the “bullet that went through my son’s knee went through my brain as well,” opening his eyes to the effects of hatred. Despite international media attention, a victim re-enactment of the crime, and the massive manhunt that followed, to date the police have not found the assailant. At this point, they probably never will.


Chen Katz was speaking to a small group at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre in downtown Toronto on March 25, 2010. The twenty-five or so attendees consisted of a mix of left-wing activists and interested community members. Sponsored by New Israel Fund of Canada, Kulanu Toronto and Generation Aleph of the Holy Blossom Temple, the event came at the end of a long tour for Chen. She was speaking with a steady and practiced voice, with just a hint of fatigue. She told the group she would focus on her family’s story, “because that’s what I know.” Her father was killed in an army accident and her mother re-married. She described her brother Nir as a “computer guy.” He avoided dating… until he met Udi at the age of 20. Her mother reacted well enough to the new boyfriend, though “she had to adjust her big family dream a bit.” His comrades in the army jokingly responded “wasn’t it obvious?” (the IDF is known for its tolerance in this area). After working with Gays for Social Justice, and joining the Agudah (literally, the “association”), Israel’s leading LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered) rights movement, he started working as a volunteer councilor in Tel Aviv’s Bar Noar.


Related articles: (chen katz, nir katz, gay bar attack, tel aviv)
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