Israelis are known for not cancelling personal celebrations during times of war and terror.
During Operation Protective Edge, the army managed to pull out two combat soldiers from the war for a few hours to attend their sister’s wedding. More recently this past November, Sarah Litman did not postpone her wedding after losing her father and brother in a terrorist attack. Instead, she not only chose to get married but decided it would be an uplifting occasion, a symbol of courage and love in the face of evil, for the entire Jewish people. Shortly following the funerals, the bride-to-be publicized her wedding and invited the whole country. Thousands of people gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate this joyous event and helped the bride to not give in to suffering.
Israelis mourn with Orlando and the LGBTQ community and fully empathize with the horrors of terror attacks, having been the victims themselves far too many times.
Following the horrific attack in Orlando, Israeli actor Assi Azar beautifully reminded us that love survives and conquers in times of strife and struggle.
Just a few hours after the terrorist attack at the LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Israeli actor Assi Azar married his partner. He proclaimed on his facebook page right after he got married that the enemies and the haters are futile—“THE ONLY THING THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY BELIEVES IS LOVE, and LOVE will win [in] the end.”
Radical Islam and homophobia spurn evil individuals to murder innocent people but at the end of the day, the murderers leave no legacy. Along with the rest of the LGBTQ community, Assi Azar continues to live free and proud of who he is.
If there is anything to learn from the aftereffects of this terror attacks, it is that in our families, communities, and personal lives, people care and people are choosing love over evil. Between all the vigils, the growing awareness, and the outpouring of love, the LGBTQ community is being loved and comforted beautifully.
For Assi Azar, the statement he released reflects the newfound freedom he has garnered since coming out. Before he could ever dream of openly marrying his soulmate, he had to face his parents. Now a publicly gay man, Assi understands the importance of not hiding any part of who he is. In 2010, he produced a documentary, Mom and Dad: I Have Something to Tell You, in order to tell his story and present the challenging journey that got him to where he is today.
This past year, Assi Azar went on a CAMERA-supported college tour to inspire the LGBTQ community and raise awareness among students. He spoke about gay life in Israel, which, while not perfect, Assi Azar claims it is “more progressive than the US in many ways in terms of LGBT rights.” During his obligatory army service, for example, he served openly gay.
While there is always more room for improvement, as evidenced by the Orlando attacks and obstacles facing the LGBTQ community today, love is certainly winning. The following quote that Sarah Litman chose to write on her public wedding invitation epitomizes this unconditional love and strength: “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy, for I have fallen but I have gotten up” (Michah 7:8). In the face of terror, we will rise and continue to love.