NIF grantee, The Aguda – Israel’s LGBT Task Force, published its annual Pride Index recently, revealing a record number of Pride events across 52 Israeli municipalities. While there are still no majority Arab or Ultra-Orthodox cities on the list, the Index indicates that 36% of Israeli municipalities have improved their services to the LGBTQ community over the past year.
The Index is based on a 30-question assessment that determines ranking across five categories: welfare, education, infrastructures, public visibility, and culture. Important factors in the ranking include tracking how often LGBTQ couples or individuals applying for public services are approved for those services, and checking whether municipalities have specific social workers responsible for LGBTQ issues, training around LGBTQ matters, and support for activities and events around Pride Month.
Tel Aviv leads the ranking among Israeli cities. The Aguda noted that “Tel Aviv, which is at the forefront of endeavors for the LGBTQ community, operates and funds the LGBTQ center, supports hundreds of activities, events, community projects, volunteering placements, and services for the entire LGBTQ spectrum. It will soon open a new LGBTQ center with an investment of tens of millions of shekels.”
Giv’atayim and Rishon LeZion tied for second place on the Index, while Beit Shemesh and Karmiel tied for last. Jerusalem, ranked 34, had the lowest ranking of any major city. The Aguda said, “The [Jerusalem] Municipality does not participate in financing any Pride Month activities despite the murder of 15-year-old Shira Banki at the Jerusalem Pride March in 2015. Nor does the municipality provide any funding for the Jerusalem Open House, in direct contempt of the Supreme Court ruling on the matter. In addition, the municipality does not hold any events for the city’s LGBTQ community and does not make basic services available for the needs of the community.”
The Index cited major improvements over the past year in LGBTQ services by the Ashdod and Eilat municipalities.