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June 8, 2018 1:49 pm

Tel Aviv Pride Parade Draws 250,000 Israelis, Foreigners

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

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Revelers take part in a gay pride parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Corinna Kern.

Revelers toting rainbow flags flooded Tel Aviv on Friday for an annual lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parade.

The beachfront procession drew some 250,000 locals and tourists, the municipality said. The British embassy donated a London-themed float. The US envoy David Friedman said on Twitter that he was “proud of everyone who is marching.”

Israel’s LGBT rights are unusual for the deeply conservative Middle East and secular Tel Aviv has long billed itself as a gay tourism hub.

Friday’s parade coincided with a new round of anti-Israel protests that were launched in the Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on March 30.

“As #Israel wakes up to #Pride2018, where tolerance and acceptance are thought & celebrated yearly – #Iranian sponsored #Gaza #Terrorists of #Hamas wake to kill maim & burn us all, using women and children as human shields in their riot attempts to breach the border,” Ohad Nakash Kaynar, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said on Twitter.

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