Tens of thousands attend TA Gay Pride festivities (JERUSALEM POST) By YONI COHEN 06/08/12)
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The streets of Tel Aviv were filled with rainbow-colored pride flags
on Friday as thousands of people took part in the annual Gay Pride
The festivities began at 10 a.m. with a community happening at Meir
Park with musical performances, celebrity appearances and speeches by
public figures such as Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Meretz MK Nitzan
Horowitz and Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich.
"I love you," Yechimovich said. "I have fought for you for years as
part of the struggle for the ongoing struggle for unity. I believe
that you, as courageous and conscious people, must take part in the
struggle for a just society."
"The fact that you are here in the tens of thousands, proud, fighting
and unafraid, should not be taken for granted," she added.
In a rare public appearance since being ousted from her position as
leader of the Kadima party, Tzipi Livni praised US President Barack
Obama for his recent statement of support for the LGBTQ community to
"This year the United States ambassador was invited to the
festivities, and he arrived. And this is no coincidence," Livni
said. "I have a feeling that he was invited in order to symbolize and
strengthen [US] President Obama´s decision to recognize same-sex
"The decision was not taken lightly, even in the United States. But
there they have a leadership that knows how to make courageous
decisions even at a political cost. And that is what is necessary in
Israel as well," she said.
The parade itself began at 1 p.m. and included a procession of floats
and organized groups of marchers accompanied by thousands of
supporters waving pride flags and enjoying the fine summer weather.
The parade set out from Meir Park, traveled down Bugrashov Street,
then passed through Ben Yehuda Street onto Arlozorov Street, ending
with a beach party at Gordon Beach at 3 p.m. Appearing on the central
stage at Gordon Beach were some of Tel Aviv´s top DJs including Offer
Nissim, Tal Cohen and Avihai Partok. Internationally recognized
Israeli musicians Ivri Lider and Jonny Goldstein, the two main
members of the pop-dance group The Young Professionals, hosted Uriel
Yekutiel on stage.
A number of major streets were closed to traffic during the time of
the parade including Bugrashov Street, Ben Yehuda Street between
Bugrashov and Jabotinsky as well as parts of Arlozorov Street closest
to the beach.
Thousands of tourists arrived in Tel Aviv over the past week to take
part in activities gearing up to the main parade. Hilton Beach was
decorated with gay pride flags and chill out music has entertained
locals and tourists alike. The beach, which is popular among the
local gay community, hosted some of the top DJs from the city´s
This year the pride events were held under the banner "Pride Flags
Countrywide." Though the central events are in Tel Aviv, everyone in
the country should be able to walk the streets with pride, the Tel
Aviv mayor´s advisor on Gay Community Affairs explained recently.
"The message that we chose this year actually casts spotlight outside
the city, on the periphery and the periphery´s connection with Tel
Aviv-Jaffa as Israel´s secular and gay capital," Yaniv Weizman, who
is also a member of the City Council, told reporters in Tel
Aviv. "Most of the gays, lesbians and transgenders who currently live
in Tel Aviv were not born in the city and have strengthened our pride
by coming from all over the country."
Last year an estimated 100,000 people took part in the parade,
carrying colorful banners calling for equality under the
banner “Being gay is ‘shaveh’ [worthwhile/ equal]. Organizers expect
similar numbers this year.
Jpost.com staff contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 06/08/12)
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