A personal letter from Ilan Sheinfeld, Israel, concerning the homophobic attacks against Café Theo, Tel Aviv.

»Café Theo was opened in September 2000 and is the first gay bookstore and coffee shop in Israel. Theo is a central gay venue.

We exhibit art of gay Israeli artists, stage a young vibrating cabaret, lite-
rary events, lectures on gay issues and more. Café Theo is named after Mr. Theo Meints. Theo was born in 1924 in Germany. Since he came to Israel, until this very day, Theo is a prominent figure in the Israeli Gay community. He is one of the founders of the Israeli Gay Association, he is currently on charge of the religious gay Israeli group ‘Hod’. Ilan Sheinfeld has decided to call the Café on his name, in order to raise the awareness of

young Israeli gays to their history and to the fact that you can be an old gay and happy man...

Who Am I? Ilan Sheinfeld was one of the first two people who went out of the closet publicly Haaret’s daily newspaper in 1986. The interview I gave to was the first written item in the Israeli press that showed the gay community from a different perspective.
Between 1982 ans 1992 Ilan served as a second literary editor at Al Hamishmar daily paper, where he has promoted a whole generation of young gay Hebrew writers.
In 1986 Ilan was invited by the US government to visit the USA. During this visit he had met Mr. Arthur Miller and Allen Ginsburg in NYC and wrote several essays on American culture and Gay issues.
In 1984 Ilan has founded the first Israeli gay Literary magazine, ‘Shufra’ (the best in Eremite) between, which was published until 1986.
In 1990 - 92 Ilan has been the spokesman of the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv. During this period he worked with Tony Kushner, publicizing

his play ‘Angels in America’, while it was staged in Israel.
In 1990 Ilan has opened his public relations agency, which has promoted many events of the Israeli gay community, together with main Israeli non-profits and cultural events, mostly aimed to change the concepts on human rights in the Israel society: The first Jewish gay memorial at Yad Vashem, The New Israeli Fund organizations, and more.
In 1997 Ilan has established the first gay Hebrew publishing house, ‘Shufra for Fine Literature Ltd.’ This publishing house is the first and only gay related

publishing firm in Israel. He has published ‘The Joy of Gay Sex’ by Charles Silverstein, ‘Dream Boy’ by Jim Grimsley, ‘AKA’ by Ruthann Robson, ‘The Dyke and the Dibbuk’ by Allen Galford, and many more. Mr. Grimsley and Mr. Silverstein were his guests in Israel.
In June 2000 Ilan has published the first Gay Map of Tel Aviv, that was spread worldwide.
In September 2000 Ilan has opened Café Theo in Tel Aviv.

The Success of Café Theo  Café Theo became a central tourism venue. The Tourist Bearue of The Tel Aviv municipality and The Ministry of Tourism are fond of this place: 15 media crews from all aover the world visited the Café, to show the live scene of Tel Aviv, and promote tourism in Israel.

The Attacks of Neighbors For the last 14 months, we suffer from a vivious campaign led by a small group of neighbors, who do not want a gay venue here. They wrote letters to the Tel Aviv municipality,

accusing us for an openly use of drugs, for having ‘anal and oral intercourse in the streets’, ‘groups of perverts vomiting and peeing in their yards’, ‘causing heavy cooking smells’ (we do not cook at all) ans ‘awful noise’ (we do not place music outside the coffee shop). They also stood outside the coffee shop, molesting our guests by taking their photos and taking pictures of gay male nude oil paintings we exhibited, saying they will not stand such exhibitions near their residence area.

Ruining Café Theo In April 2001 the neighbors have succeed to get a one-side decision at court, based on their false claims. This decision has restricted us to close at midnight, not to take out tables and

chairs, no cooking etc. We fought and canceled it, and that they got a new decision concerning only the closing hour. Although all the straight pubs in our street are opened all night long, and although, which is fully licensed, we still have to close at midnight.

Bankruptcy  Because we are forced to close at midnight, we have lost 20.000 $ per month, since April 2001
Since the beginning of the terror attacks in Israeli coffee shops at April 2002 we lost 30.000 $ per month.
We are now in a dept of 1 million nis, which equals 200.000 $.

A Financial Crisis  As a result: Workers were not paid since April. Suppliers were not paid and are threatening Ilan’s life. The Tax authorities sewed Ilan Sheinfeld personally. He might be sent to jail. Four banks restricted all the accounts of Café Theo and Ilan Sheinfeld. No credit, no checks, no possibilitiy to open a new account in the next 3 years. Ilan has no money for basic needs.

What Does Homophobia do to a gay business? Café Theo will be closed or seized by the banks in 15 July 2002. Ilan Sheinfeld will have to declare bankruptcy. Shufra publishing house and Ilan Sheinfeld Public Relations Ltd. will also be closed. All Gay related publishing projects will not be fulfilled.

How Can You Help?  Send this Website with the personal letter to your friends within and without the gay community and to gay related funds. Send a protest letter to the Mayor of Tel Aviv: Mr. Ron Hulday, The Tel Aviv Municipality, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, Fax: 972-3-5216425.
If you want to donate money to help me re-establish Café Theo and

Shufra publishing house, please feel free to send us any sum of money to the trustee account: Attr. Tali Ben Simon, Bank 10, Branch 816, Account 598005/94, Lumiilittv, Leumi Bank, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv.
For further informations contact Ilan Sheinfeld: home: 972-3-510-4726;
mobile: 972-50-300098;

work: 972-3-517-6364, 516-3046; website: www.sheinfelds.com; eMail: ilanshpr@netvision.net.il.