Skip To Content
Breaking News

Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade Draws 200,000 Revelers

JTA — Approximately 200,000 people, including many tourists, gathered in central Tel Aviv for the city’s 23rd gay pride event.

The event, whose theme this year is women in the gay, lesbian and transgender community, kicked off Friday morning at Gan Meir, a park that houses the Tel Aviv Municipal LGBT Center. A representative of the center presented an award to journalist Ilana Dayan and to Ilana Shirazi, an organizer of lesbian marriage ceremonies.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai then gave the signal for the start of the Gay Pride Parade, which features a procession with floats and music terminating at a beach party in south Tel Aviv.

Among the first-time foreign participants this year in the parade is Buck Angel, a transgender male adult film producer, actor and motivational speaker from California. “This is my first time in this side of the world,” he Ynet. “It’s exciting to see the gay community being accepted in the Middle East, and it’s generating change.”

Elsewhere in the region, homosexuals — gay men especially — are subject to legal persecution. Countless homosexuals have been murdered in the region.

Pro-Palestinian activists, however, accuse the Jewish state of using its relatively liberal attitudes toward homosexuality to mask, or “pink-wash,” its occupation of Palestinian lands. And some Israeli gay activists accuse the government of exploiting its reputation for tolerance to enhance its image but not investing much in the community.

Same-sex marriages are not performed in Israel, where Jewish marriage is the purview of the Chief Rabbinate. Muslims and Christians have corresponding religious bodies.

Last year, Yishai Schlissel, after being released from prison for stabbing several people at a 2005, Jerusalem gay pride parade In 2005, stabbed victims at the gay pride parade in Jerusalem, killing a 16-year-old participant and wounding several others.

Despite these incidents, violence against homosexuals is relatively rare in Israel, which is rated by many LGBT publications as one of the world’s best and safest travel destinations.

Also taking part in the parade were members of a week-long LGBTQ mission to Israel sponsored by the Jewish Federations of North America. During the mission, which officially ended Thursday, more than 100 participants met with leaders of Israel’s LGBTQ organizations, LGBTQ leaders from Israel’s political parties, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. Participants included Stuart Kurlander, an attorney and former president of the Washington, D.C.-area Jewish federation, and Matt Nosanchuk, a senior advisor at the U.S. State Department and former White House liaison to the Jewish community.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.