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June 12, 2015 10:16 am

Tens of Thousands Participate in Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Parade

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Tel Aviv's LGBT pride parade took place on Friday. Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv’s LGBT pride parade took place on Friday. Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis and tourists turned out for Tel Aviv’s 2015 gay pride parade on Friday.

The parade began around noon Tel Aviv time and marched from the city’s Meir Park down to Charles Clore Park along the Mediterranean. It was estimated that around 180,000 people turned out, with about 30,000 tourists.

“Welcome to all our guests from abroad to the gay-friendliest city in the world,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai declared at the launch of the parade.

The Tel Aviv parade is Israel’s largest gay pride event as well as the largest of its kind in the Middle East, a region where homosexuals and transgendered people face brutal repression and human rights abuses.

This year’s parade focused on the promotion of the rights of the transgendered community.

“As the parade approaches, more and more trans people are calling up to get help, to get support, so that’s what visibility does,” Tel Aviv transgender activist Elisha Alexander said in the lead-up to the parade, the Times of Israel reported. “That’s the main goal of all these pride parades and things like that—it’s just to be visible, that we exist.


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  • Midrash Rabah, Parshat Bereshit, Chapter 26, end of Paragraph 5:

    Rabbi Yehoshua bar Levi taught in the name of Rabbi Padyeh:

    Lot [the nephew of the prophet Abraham] prayed all night for mercy for the people of Sodom, and his prayer was accepted.

    When they attempted to commit homosexuality, it was no longer possible to pray for them.

  • Midrash Rabah, Parshat Bereshit, Chapter 26, Paragraph 5:

    Rabbi Samlai taught:

    Wherever you find immorality, destruction comes into the world that kills both the righteous and the wicked.

    The context of this teaching reveals that it refers to homosexuality.

  • Sefer Charedim, chapter 63:

    He who committed homosexuality, after he abandons his sin [by repenting], [he] must immerse [in a kosher mikvah] and fast 233 times…

    And every morning and evening of the fasts, he should recite these Biblical verses: Lamentations, chapter 3, verse 20 and Psalms chapter 31, verse 23…

    And after all these, he should be whipped and wear sackcloth and place dust on himself and weep more bitterly than someone whose only child died and lies before him…

    Also, the angels that are appointed to watch over that person,[they] distance themselves from him…


    Rabbi Eleazar ben Moshe Azkari (or Ezkari) was a popular
    preacher who lived in Safed (Israel) in the 1500s CE.
    His Sefer Charedim was published in Venice
    in 1601 CE, a year after his death.

    Several well-known piyutim (Jewish hymns)
    are attributed to him, including Yedid Nefesh.