Israel Pride 2012
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Israel Pride 2012

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Israel’s unique position in the Middle East as a center of equality for all gets highlighted when the annual Gay Pride festivities kick off in Tel Aviv for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender ...

Israel’s unique position in the Middle East as a center of equality for all gets highlighted when the annual Gay Pride festivities kick off in Tel Aviv for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities.
Voted the world’s best gay travel destination1, Tel Aviv will host over one hundred thousand tourists with events co-sponsored and supported by Tel Aviv city hall. Known as Israel’s cultural and economic capital, Tel Aviv embodies much of Israel’s new and pioneering spirit while retaining its heritage.

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Israel Pride 2012 Israel Pride 2012 Document Transcript

  • 1 Israel Pride 2012
  • 2 ABOUT TIP The Israel Project (TIP) is a non-profit educational organization that gets facts about Israel and the Middle East to press, public officials and the public. The Israel Project is not affiliated with any government or government entity. Our team of trusted Middle East multi-lingual experts and former reporters provides journalists and leaders with fact sheets, backgrounders and sources. TIP regularly hosts press briefings featuring leading Israeli spokespeople and analysts that give journalists and members of the diplomatic community an opportunity to get information and answers to their questions face-to-face. By providing journalists with the facts, context and visuals they need, TIP enables hundreds of millions of people around the world to see a more positive public face of Israel. This helps protect Israel, reduce anti- Semitism and increase pride in Israel. The Jerusalem Office The Israel Project's (TIP) Jerusalem Office is a non-governmental resource working with foreign journalists and leaders based in Israel. It provides reporters and members of the diplomatic community with needed facts and information before they file their stories and reports. TIP's Jerusalem team features several Middle East experts and former journalists. TIP's Israel team, led by Marcus Sheff, includes experts who are fluent in English, Hebrew, Arabic, French, German, Farsi and Russian. Contacts Marcus Sheff Executive Director Tel: 972 2-623-6427 Cell: 972 54-807-9177 E-mail: marcuss@theisraelproject.org David Harris Director of Research and Content Tel: 972 2-623-6427 Cell: 972 54-807-9498 E-mail: davidh@theisraelproject.org Eli Ovits Director of Communications Tel: 972 2 623-6427 Cell: 972 54-807-9093 E-mail: elio@theisraelproject.org Shimrit Meir-Gilboa Director of Arabic Media Program Tel: 972 2-623-6427 Cell: 972 54-801-5982 E-mail: shimritm@theistraelproject.org Sharon Segel Communications Associate Tel: 972 2-623-6427 Cell: 972 54-807-9078 E-mail: sharons@theisraelproject.org Ronit Shebson Senior Communications Associate Tel: 972 2-623-6427 Cell: 972 54-807-9065 E-mail: ronits@theisraelproject.org Shai Oseran Communications Associate – Tours & Events Tel: 972 2-623-6427 Cell: 972 54-803-3471 E-mail: shaio@theisraelproject.org Paul Shindman Research and Content Associate Tel: 972 2-623-9122 Cell: 972 52-807-9187 E-mail: pauls@theisraelproject.org TABLE OF CONTENTS About TIP 2 Tel Aviv: Tolerance and Progress 3 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Tel Aviv and Israel 3 Useful Contacts 4 Updated: June 4, 2012
  • 3 Gay Pride Parade, Tel Aviv, June 2010 Tel Aviv: Tolerance and Progress Israel’s unique position in the Middle East as a center of equality for all gets highlighted when the annual Gay Pride festivities kick off in Tel Aviv for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities. Voted the world’s best gay travel destination 1 , Tel Aviv will host over one hundred thousand tourists with events co-sponsored and supported by Tel Aviv city hall. Known as Israel’s cultural and economic capital, Tel Aviv embodies much of Israel’s new and pioneering spirit while retaining its heritage. “Tel Aviv lives up to its reputation as the gay capital of the Middle East. (Even the crosswalks are painted in rainbow stripes,)” CNN wrote in its listing of the best picks around the world for celebrating Pride. 2 “By far the most international city in Israel, Tel Aviv is also home to a large gay community, a kind of San Francisco in the Middle East. Thanks to its university and museums, it is also the greenhouse for Israel’s growing art, film and music scenes,” Lonely Planet wrote after naming Tel Aviv one of the world’s “top ten cities in 2011.” Tel Aviv is home to nearly 370,000 Jews and 33,000 Arabs and is well known for its tolerant lifestyle, a ‘melting pot’ of race, creed, religion, gender and sexual orientation. The week-long festivities will culminate in the annual Gay Pride parade and will be followed by the 7th International LGBT Film Festival that this year will screen “queer cinema” from Turkey and Indonesia as well as masters film-making classes. Even without the LGBT reputation, Lonely Planet named Tel Aviv one of the world’s “top ten cities in 2011,” highlighting its progressive mindset: “Tel Aviv is the total flipside of Jerusalem, a modern Sin City on the sea rather than an ancient Holy City on a hill. Hedonism is the one religion that unites its inhabitants. There are more bars than synagogues, God is a DJ and everyone’s body is a temple. Yet, scratch underneath the surface and Tel Aviv, or TLV, reveals itself as a truly diverse 21st-century Mediterranean hub. “By far the most international city in Israel, Tel Aviv is also home to a large gay community, a kind of San Francisco in the Middle East. Thanks to its university and museums, it is also the greenhouse for Israel’s growing art, film and music scenes.” 3 LGBT Rights in Israel Israel has become one of the most progressive countries in the world and is recognized as the most tolerant country in the Middle East in legislating equality for sexual minorities and ensuring their civil and personal rights. A few years ago, Israel recognized the first overseas adoption by a gay couple. The eight-year-old Cambodian-born boy was granted Israeli citizenship. In the Declaration of Establishment of the State of Israel, it says: “Israel will be a state based on the principles of liberty, justice and peace as envisioned by the prophets of Israel; it will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, irrespective of religion, race or sex.” 4 1 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2088319/Tel-Aviv-trumps-New-York-named-worlds-best-gay-city.html 2 http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/28/travel/gay-pride-travel/index.html 3 “Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities for 2011,” Lonely Planet, Oct. 31, 2010, http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/new-york-city/travel- tips-and-articles/76165
  • 4 First and foremost, gay rights are protected by Israeli law. Gay marriages – performed outside Israel – are recognized by the state, and same-sex couples are permitted to adopt. Gays can serve openly in the military, using the “don’t ask – don’t care” approach where sexual orientation is not an issue. Gender reassignment surgery is legal and openly performed. The gay community has gained wide acceptance throughout Israeli society, including in the political, legal, military and cultural areas. In fact, the city of Tel Aviv has one of the most flourishing gay communities in the world. Because of these freedoms – and intolerance of gays in Muslim countries and entities such as areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA), – Israel has become a haven for gay Palestinians who flee persecution in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they are subject to severe abuse by their families, communities, Hamas and the PA. Tel Aviv - The Gay Center of Israel Out magazine called Tel Aviv “the gay capital of the Middle East.” But officials in the Israel Ministry of Tourism have greater plans for the city’s gay community: They want Tel Aviv to be the “gay capital of the world” and make it the hottest tourist destination for the international gay and lesbian community. • Since the 1990s, Tel Aviv has hosted Israel’s largest gay pride parade, regularly drawing tens of thousands each year • Tel Aviv is home to Beit Dror, an emergency shelter for LGBT teens who have been rejected by their families because of their sexual orientation. • The gay nightlife in Tel Aviv rivals that of New York and London, with gay and lesbian bars and clubs open until the morning Significant Legislation and Developments in the Gay Community In the last two decades, gay rights have advanced significantly — legally and politically — in Israel. In addition to recognizing same-sex marriages performed outside of the country and legalizing adoptions by lesbian and gay couples, there are numerous other examples of noteworthy legislation to advance gay rights. For example: • March 10, 2009: Tel Aviv family court rules that former Knesset member, the first openly homosexual MK, Uzi Even and partner can legally adopt their foster son, making them the first same-sex male couple in Israel whose right of adoption has been legally acknowledged. 5 • April 25, 2008: For the first time, Israel recognizes an overseas adoption by a gay couple. The adopted child, an eight-year-old Cambodian boy, was granted Israeli citizenship. • February 12, 2008: The Israeli government grants gay and lesbian couples the same adoption rights as heterosexual couples. Previously, gays and lesbians could only adopt children that were their own biological offspring. • March 2007: The Education Ministry recognizes the Israeli Gay Youth Organization (IGY), enabling the organization to receive funding from the government. IGY, founded by the Association of Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgender (The Aguda) in 2002, is a volunteer-based support organization for gay youth between the ages of 15 - 23. 6 • January 2007: In the city’s branch of the Interior Ministry’s Population Registry, Jerusalem registers its first married gay couple; Avi and Binyamin Rose. • November 2006: The High Court of Justice (Israel’s Supreme Court) sets a precedent by ruling that the civil marriages of five gay couples wed in Canada may be registered as married couples in Israel. (The Roses, above, married in June 2006, were not one of these five couples.) 4 “Declaration of Establishment of State of Israel,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Declaration+of+Establishment+of+State+of+Israel.ht m [accessed Jun. 05, 2011] 5 Edelman, Ofra, “Court grants gay couple right to adopt 30-year-old foster son,” Haaretz, Mar. 11, 2009, http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/court-grants-gay-couple-right-to-adopt-30-year-old-foster-son-1.271855 6 HaAguda, http://www.glbt.org.il/he/
  • 5 • July 2003: The Tel Aviv municipality grants homosexuals the same spousal discounts provided to heterosexual married couples at cultural, sport and other facilities. • 1998: Same-sex partners are granted pension rights by the Civil Service Commission. • 1997: The High Court of Justice overturns a decision by then-education minister Zevulun Hammer, a member of the National Religious Party (‘Mafdal’), to ban a television program about homosexual teenagers. • November 1994: The High Court of Justice grants full spousal benefits to the partner of an El Al airlines employee, paving the way for other same-sex couples to receive equal benefits. • 1993: Former Knesset member Yael Dayan establishes a Knesset subcommittee on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues. In the same year, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) implements an anti-discrimination policy after Dr. Uzi Even, who had been an officer in the army, testifies to the Knesset that he was discharged from the military and stripped of his security clearance after the IDF discovered that he was gay. Even went on to become the first openly gay Knesset member. • 1992: The Knesset outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace. • March 22, 1988: The Knesset decriminalizes homosexuality. • 1975: The first Israeli organization for gays, the Society for the Protection of Personal Rights (SPPR), is founded. Today, the organization is known as the Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association (The Aguda) 7 Useful Contacts The Association for Civil Rights in Israel Web site: http://www.acri.org.il/eng (English) E-mail: mail@acri.org.il Tel.: Jerusalem Tel.: 972-2-652-1218; Tel Aviv Tel.: 972-3-560-8185 The Aguda (Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association) Tel: 972-3-620-5590 E-mail: info@aguda-ta.org.il Web site: http://www.aguda-ta.org.il (Hebrew) Beit Dror (House of Freedom in English) – Emergency Center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans Tel.: 972-3-516-4621 E-mail: bethdror@012.net.il Web site: www.bethdror.org (Hebrew) Israeli Gay Youth Organization (IGY) Tel.: 972-3-560-0958 E-mail: office@igy.co.il www.igy.co.il (Hebrew); http://www.igy.co.il/content/about_us_en.php (English) Tehila – a support group for parents of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders Tel.: 972-9-885-5822 E-mail: info@tehila.org.il Web site: http://www.tehila.org.il/ (Hebrew) 7 Ibid.