Israel: Outcry after police drug raid

Police in Tel Aviv raided a gay club on Friday night and arrested the owner and another worker after drugs were found on the premises. Fourteen other individuals were briefly detained for questioning and then released, and the venue was immediately shut down.

People present at the time of the raid told Channel 12 news that there were many tourists at the venue on Carlebach Street at the time of the raid, as the city gears up for its annual pride parade next Friday. Eyewitnesses said four police officers entered the club with a dog and checked the lockers where patrons store their personal belongings. Hebrew-language media reported that the venue was a sauna.

“Without going into the operational considerations of the police, the choice to make such a raid in the middle of pride month and just a week before the Gay Pride parade is categorically the wrong decision,” said Etai Pinkas-Arad, who holds the LGBT portfolio at the Tel Aviv municipality. “It is unnecessary and harms trust between police and the LGBT community.”

Pincas-Arad called for a meeting between police and representatives of the LGBT community “to ensure that there is no intention or plans to harass the community’s entertainment venues, and to ensure that the operational activity does not involve harming the LGBT community’s dignity.” Read more via TImes of Israel