Poll Shows Dramatic Increase in Israeli Public Support of LGBT Community
Israeli media has reported that 200,000 people attended LGBT Pride festivities as Tel Aviv celebrated its annual Gay Pride Parade on Friday, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East.
It is believed that more than 30,000 tourists from around the world, including the USA, traveled to Israel especially to attend the event. This year’s festival theme is ‘Women in the Community’, to highlight the role of women in the LGBT community.
Parts of a bustling Tel Aviv shut down traffic as loud music blasted along the parade’s route, which was crowded with people dancing and waving balloons and rainbow flags.
Israel is widely accepting of LGBTI people, and Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations. The city stands in sharp contrast to much of the region, where people are persecuted and may even be killed because of their sexuality.
Israel has a second annual Pride celebration, in Jerusalem, known for its rich religious history. The majority of Jerusalem’s residents are observant Jews, Muslims or Christians, conservative communities whose members mostly frown on homosexuality.
A minute of silence was held at the Tel Aviv parade Friday to remember and honor 16-year-old Shira Banki, who was killed in an attack last year by a radical ultra-Orthodox Jew. The attack was widely condemned and the killer was convicted for murder. Violent attacks on gays, lesbians, bisexual, intersex and transgender people are rare and conversations in Zion Square, orchestrated by LGBT advocates, are starting to reshape the sentiment.
This year’s Tel Aviv Pride festivities were attended by U.S. entertainment icons, Alan Cummings and Lea DeLaria
Tel Aviv Pride (גאווה תל אביבית) is an annual, week-long series of events in Tel Aviv that celebrate Israel’s LGBT community life, scheduled during the second week of June, as part of the international observance of Gay Pride Month. The most-attended event is Pride Parade which is the largest in Asia.
According to the JP:
A poll conducted ahead of Friday’s Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade shows a high level of public support for establishing legal marriage or registration for same sex couples in Israel. According to the poll conducted by the Smith Polling Institute for the Hiddush pluralism group, 76 percent of the Jewish Israeli public support the establishment of some form of marriage for same-sex couples. This represents a significant jump in support since Hiddush’s last poll in September last year, which found that 64% of the Jewish public was in favor of same sex marriage.
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