Tens of thousands march in 25th Tel Aviv Pride parade

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Monday, June 12, 2023

Marchers at last year's parade.
Image: Igor Zeiger.

Tens of thousands — 150,000, according to the The Times of Israel — paraded Thursday in Tel Aviv, Israel, part of the 25th yearly edition of the Middle East's largest LGBT pride festival.

The Associated Press (AP) described a celebratory mood, drawing a distinction with a Jerusalem pride parade on June 1, where police deployed over 2,000 officers for security. Visitors to Tel Aviv joined the event in the thousands.

Israeli Ohad Huri, who dyed his beard the rainbow colors, told the AP: "I'm a minority. I want to save my rights. I want to fight for the rights of other minorities. I want equality. That's about it."

The Times of Israel interviewed Omer Elad, the head of a local transgender group, who said the parade was "especially" important given Israel's political situation. National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has previously protested the festival, Avi Maoz, a deputy minister, questioned its legality and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has called himself a "proud homophobe".

The AP considered Israel relatively accepting of LGBT people, in contrast to other Middle Eastern countries.