Victims of the tragic homophobic shooting in Tel Aviv on Saturday night were laid to rest yesterday amidst an outcry of sadness.
Israeli media reported that 17 year old Liz Trubeshi and 26-year-old Nir Katz were killed when a masked gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon on a meeting of gay youth at CafÃ© Noir in the city.
“I’m wearing this flag today because this is where it all starts,” Chen Katz, Nir Katz’s sister, said in her eulogy while wearing a gay pride flag. “The struggle begins here, here is the source – what did Nir do? Nothing against anybody.” Katz had been a counsellor at the gay youth centre for several years and helped teenagers embrace their sexual identity.
This is the second tragedy for Nir’s family. In 1990, his father Rami was killed in a military incident, in which five soldiers were killed by a shell during training. Nir was only seven years old and had been raised by his mother, Ayala, along with his five other siblings.
Michal, a family friend, said at his funeral that Nir’s death must not be in vain. “It is important that we remember you tried to help confused teens become better people – not like that vile murderer.”
The second victim to be laid to rest, Liz Trubeshi, was described by a classmate as being “very quiet in class,” adding that she was a “withdrawn and introverted.” Her family remained closed off in their home in Holon, trying to come to terms with the bitter truth. “We are hurting and are having a hard time. It’s hard to talk about it,” said Liz’s aunt Cindy.
Meanwhile a source has told Haaretz that police have a lead in the case and warned that the motive behind the killing may have been personal and not a general hate-crime targeting of the gay and lesbian community.
Tel Aviv is said to have the largest gay population in Israel, but after Saturday’s shooting many believe that the city has lost its aura of refuge for the gay community.