Thousands attend 10th annual Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv

Source: Ha’aretz
7 June 2008

Thousands attend 10th annual Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv
By Haaretz Service

Pride parade, Tel Aviv, 2008Thousands of people attended the tenth annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv Friday, to celebrate the gay community’s struggle for equality and to christen the center for the gay community situated in the city’s Meir park (Gan Meir).

“The center symbolizes an amazing turning point in the history of the gay community, and our activities will now have fertile ground from which to grow and flourish,” Army Radio quoted one of the parade participants as saying.

The Tel Aviv municipality donated NIS 250,000 for the event, which was scheduled to commence at 12 P.M. at Gan Meir. The parade was then to head out toward Bograshov Street, turning onto Ben Yehuda Steet, then Ben Gurion Boulevard and finally ending at Gordon beach, where a host of musicians such as Ivri Lider, Maya Buskila and Keren Peles were set to perform followed by a party on into the night.

Unlike similar events in the more religious capital, which have sparked bitter right-wing protests and violent demonstrations, the Tel Aviv parade faced little resistance. “The parade here is different from the one in Jerusalem,” Army Radio quoted another parade participant. “Here, we celebrate the freedom and rights that we have – it’s a festival, a happening, it’s a joy. In Jerusalem, it’s simply a demonstration for human rights.”

Several confrontations did take place however. Army Radio reported that a handful of extreme right-wing activists confronted the revelers holding signs reading “Animals – you have nothing to be proud of.” Shas Party Chairman Eli Yishai also voiced his objection to the parade in a letter addressed to the prime minister and the police commissioner, saying the parade will include “acts of abomination” and that it should be stopped.

Army Radio also quoted Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On’s response to Yishai’s efforts, saying “their ignorance and dark beliefs take as back to the Middle Ages. It is intolerable that the religious and Haredis tell us what to believe in and how to live. Now they’re trying to forbid the gay community from parading in the streets.”

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Source: The real truth blog
6 June 2008

Tel Aviv Celebrates Tenth Annual Gay Pride Parade

More than 1,000 people participated in Tel Aviv’s tenth annual Gay Pride Parade, which coincided with celebrating the city’s new community center for homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons.

“Every person, whoever he may be, was created in the image of God,” said a conservative rabbi as he recited a blessing over the mezuzah. “And therefore this place is not just a house for the community, but a house of God” (Haaretz).

The mezuzah—a piece of parchment that lists Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21, and is usually attached to the doorframes of Jewish homes—was symbolically painted with the rainbow colors of the gay pride flag.

A city councilwoman told parade-goers, “You are my brothers and sisters and I love you” (ibid.).

A member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, said, “This parade is a demonstration against those harming the freedom of expression. We are struggling for equality and respect and we have a long way to go. No one will stop us, we will be here again next year and we will be victorious” (ibid.).

Only a few demonstrators, including a handful of Orthodox Jewish lawmakers, protested the event.

In Jerusalem, some religious Knesset members are searching for various measures to adopt to prevent the city’s annual Gay Pride Parade from taking place on June 20. The members called it “intolerable.”

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Source: Jerusalem Post
6 June 2008

Brief altercations at Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv

There were brief altercations Friday between participants in the Tel Aviv Gay Pride parade and a group of right-wing and religious demonstrators.

No one was wounded and police were not required to intervene.

The demonstrators held signs which read: ‘Animals! You have nothing to be proud of, take your medication.’

Meanwhile, Meretz faction chairperson Zahava Gal-On, who attended the march, slammed Shas and its chairman Eli Yishai, who on Thursday attempted to prevent the parade from going ahead by filing a compliant to police.

“Yishai cannot profit politically at the expense of the participants in the Gay Pride parade,” said Gal-On, adding that Shas was “trying take us back to the Middle Ages.”

Pride parade, Tel Aviv, 2008

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Source: Ynetnews.com
6 June 2008

‘Any homosexuals in the crowd?’ ‘Yes!’

Organizers of 10th annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv: Parade not a provocation but rather way to heighten awareness of Israel’s gay-lesbian community

by Ronen Medzini

More than a thousand people arrived at the Gan Meir Park in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon to participate in the 10th Gay Pride Parade. The marchers began at the park, where a municipal center for the gay community was opened last week, and will finish at Gordon Beach, where a party is planned to take place.

During the parade, participants shouted, “Are there any homosexuals here? And the crowd answered “yes”.

Dganit, one of the participants, said that her goal is for homosexuals to seem less like a phenomenon and more like an integral part of society. “The time has come for two males kissing on the street to be legitimate, even outside of Tel Aviv.

“We also want the right to same-sex marriages and adoption. Our message is not political but social.” According to Dganit, in the last few years the parade has been too provocative. “It doesn’t have to be a street party,” she said.

Morry, a Japanese tourist, arrived at the parade and said that “it was amazing, I know that this is prohibited in Judaism and still many people arrived, even the mayor is supportive. This is something that would never happen in Japan.”

Pride parade, Tel Aviv, 2008‘My brothers and sisters’

A line of public figures spoke with the participants before the parade took off. Tel Aviv City Councilwoman Yael Dayan said “you are my brothers and sisters and I love you.”

MK Zahava Gal-On, chairwoman of the Meretz party discussed the importance of the event. “This parade is a demonstration against those harming the freedom of expression. We are struggling for equality and respect and we have a long way to go. No one will stop us, we will be here again next year and we will be victorious.”

Information booths were waiting for the marchers at the Gan Meir Park and some of the activists distributed materials and condoms. In addition, AIDS tests and quick responses were provided.

The municipal center opened will coordinate all of the community’s organizational activities. Tel Aviv City Councilman Itai Pinkas, who has been working on the center for more than five years, said, “We decided not to put a fence around the center because we feel good in Tel Aviv, we want everyone and we feel wanted. The center will be open at all times.”

The event will include a same-sex marriage presentation sponsored by the Six Colors Organization. The parade’s organizers clarified that they are not interested in causing unnecessary provocations, but rather to heighten people’s awareness of the gay-lesbian community in Israel.

Ten right-wing activists protested against the parade, no riots were reported.

Avi Cohen contributed to this report

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