JERUSALEM, Israel, November 10, 2006 ( – The long battle over Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade came to a surprise end yesterday, as organizers were forced to finally cancel the event one day before its scheduled date.

Security concerns, amid relentless pressure from the Orthodox Jewish community against the event, were cited as the reason behind the last-minute cancellation.

“A lot of people are very happy because a level of purity has been returned to Jerusalem,” said Rabbi Yehuda Levin, of the Rabbinical Alliance of America, Mercury News reported. “The holy city of Jerusalem now breathes a sign of relief that it is not going to be sullied by this kind of event.”

Violence in the Gaza strip Wednesday led police to declare they would not have manpower to maintain order and ensure security during the parade–Palestinian reprisal attacks were anticipated after the Israeli military shelled a northern Gaza town, killing 19 civilians.

Organizers substituted a rally at Hebrew University’s soccer stadium in place of the extravagant demonstration planned for Jerusalem city streets. Held in the small University stadium, the rally drew a modest crowd of about one thousand participants, Deutsche Presse Agentur reported, with an estimated 3000-strong police force securing the building.

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