Photo courtesy of Jerusalem Open House
This June Israelis will be staging more LGBTQ+ Pride events than ever before. The month began last Thursday with 30,000 people marching through Jerusalem in the annual Pride Parade.
Jerusalem Open House Chairman Jonathan Valfer said,
“The two people who were most active over the years in protesting what they called “the Abomination Parade,” [Bezalel] Smotrich and [Itamar] Ben Gvir, are precisely those people who were now entrusted with the security of this year’s Pride Parade. The irony of life. This is the framework within which we work.”
“The parade is the most important event for the liberal public in Jerusalem, for everyone who cares about Jerusalem remaining the capital of Israel in the sense of a home for everyone. It is already an event that is not only for the gay community in Jerusalem, but for everyone for whom liberal values of equality, freedom and freedom of expression are important. For those who want to establish them in Jerusalem and anyone who thinks that Jerusalem should not be hijacked by Messianic and extremist elements.”
“Since the murder of the late Shira Banki [in 2015], the parade has become a symbol for those who believe in democracy… Since then, we have seen a very significant increase in the presence of the moderate religious public at the parade; they see that this is a parade also has a place—even if some disagree with it, even if they have a hard time with it—and that the parade symbolizes the right of people to their freedom of expression.”
During June there will be Pride events and parades in most major Israeli cities including Tel Aviv Pride (this weekend), which is always one of the largest pride parades in the world. This year, NIF is providing support for parades taking place in Be’er Sheva and Mitzpe Ramon where organizers have faced opposition to their plans in previous years.