Kach activists destroy Gay Pride Parade flags

"This is a disgusting parade which has no place in a Jewish state," said far-right activist and self-declared former Kach spokesman Itamar Ben-Gvir, who took credit for the removal of at least 30 flags.

Ben-Gvir voiced his disappointment that Jerusalem's first haredi mayor, Uri Lupolianski, did not see fit to cancel the event.

For his part, Lupolianski, who has pledged to maintain the delicate religious-secular status quo in the city, defended the right of individuals to live as they please.

Reacting to the flag removal, Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of Jerusalem's Gay and Lesbian Center, which is organizing the event, said he had filed a complaint with police against the Kahane supporters for breaking the law.

"The rule of law will overcome this racist movement," El-Ad said, adding that the gay pride flags were "the most prominent symbol for tolerance and openness."

Last year, the group took the city to court after former mayor Ehud Olmert, citing budgetary limitations, refused to provide any city funding for the event, which was attended by some 4,000 people.

The court later made the city pay $24,000, nearly 25 percent of the cost of the parade in keeping with past support of other city events.

El-Ad said that after last year's ruling he expects the city to "wise up" and provide some funding for the event, or face another court case.

Gay Pride Day was also marked in the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, the Knesset panel that has adopted the cause of homosexuals.

At the start of the meeting, a moment of silence was held to remember Alan Beer, a U.S. immigrant who was killed in last week's suicide bombing attack on a No. 14 Jerusalem bus.

Committee chair Gila Gamliel read a letter that Beer had recited to the committee at last year's event. Beer said he was "proud of his many identities," including being a Jerusalemite, a homosexual, an Orthodox Jew, and a Zionist. He also told the committee that people can be "both free and holy."