No Peace For Pub Owners

J’Lem Gay Bar Closing Shop

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Cover those mirrors! It’s time to sit shiva for Jerusalem’s only gay bar, the Shushan Pub. The four-year old drinking hole will close this week, for despite being the only space of its kind, the poor pub simply can’t turn a profit. It did, however, challenge Israel’s social divisions.

Says co-owner Saar Netanel:

Shushan is the only place in Israel where the Haredi [ultra-Orthodox], Arabs, religious and secular could sit together and have a good time. When they left Shushan, each returned to his own ghetto.

Things weren’t always sunshine and lollipops, of course. Shushan went up in flames two years ago after arsonists did their destructive thing. Even then, however, Netanel didn’t give up his dreams. Unfortunately reality has a way of creeping up: “At age 36, I am interested in other things. With all due respect to ideology, ideology does not pay the rent or municipal taxes.” Um, duh! Why do you think Palestine’s so poor?