Is Israel LGBT friendly

ESC in Tel Aviv - Israel's LGBT metropolis is celebrating itself

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The Eurovision Song Contest is currently taking place in Tel Aviv. The global LGBT community is delighted: because the metropolis is known as the “gay capital”, a liberal island in the Middle East.

Not only in Tel Aviv, all over Israel, homosexual, transgender and queer people enjoy LGBT-friendly legislation. For example, lesbian women can benefit from reproductive medicine and, even if they are unmarried, use artificial insemination.

Anti-discrimination laws apply in the Israeli army. High-ranking officers can come out. The army treats homosexual couples with children in the same way as heterosexual ones: for example, both parents are never drafted at the same time.

LGBT Rights in Israel: A Chronology

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  • 1988: The ban on homosexual acts is lifted.
  • 1992: Discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation is prohibited.
  • 1993: Laws on Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination for Homosexual Recruits in the Israel Army (IDF).
  • 2006: Same-sex marriages concluded abroad are recognized for the first time.
  • 2008: Homosexual couples can adopt children.

Tel Aviv - a protection and party zone

All of this has resulted in Tel Aviv in particular attracting the global LGBT scene. Party tourists as well as gay refugees come from the Palestinian territories.

The aid organization Aguda reckons that 2,000 homosexual Arabs have found refuge in Tel Aviv, albeit partly illegally.

In 2017, a quarter of a million people from all over the world took part in the Pride Parade in Tel Aviv. Photographer Ilan Nachum documented the parade for the book «Queer in Israel».

Book reference

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Nora Pester (ed.): «Queer in Israel», with photographs by Ilan Nachum, Hentrich & Hentrich 2018.

Nachum hopes that the ESC will be a similarly colorful, happy and peaceful festival. As a secular artist, he would like his country to maintain and develop its liberalism.

Obstacles to getting married

Because there is still room for improvement. A construction site for everyone - regardless of gender or religious orientation - is the fact that there is no civil marriage and no state registry office in Israel. All marriages in Israel must be concluded by religious courts.

But Jewish, Christian, and Muslim marriage courts prohibit same-sex marriages. Women lawyers, human rights activists and journalists criticize the lack of civil marriage in the book «Queer in Israel».

"Pinkwashing" as a charge against Israel

They controversially discuss the accusation against Israel of using its liberal gender policy for so-called «pinkwashing». Critics accuse the Israeli government of covering up other human rights problems with its liberal LGBT policy, or rather "washing them pink".

In fact, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism advertises homosexual guests in an explicit campaign with a Star of David in a rainbow. With success, as you can see from this year's ESC audience.

The majority are tolerant

Gays and lesbians can live more freely in Israel than in any other country in the Middle East. To advertise with this fact is only legitimate, thinks the journalist Frederik Schindler.

The Eurovision Song Contest

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The “Eurovision Song Contest” in Tel Aviv has been running since May 14th. 41 countries take part - 20 of them will be in the final.

SRF will broadcast the 2nd semi-final on May 16 on SRF Zwei and the final on May 18 on SRF 1 - and will accompany the ESC online.

Israeli LGBT activist Noa Golani, on the other hand, says the Netanyahu government is not doing enough to protect LGBT people. She calls for better asylum for persecuted homosexuals and more state benefits for refugees and shelters.

What makes Noa Golani optimistic: The support of the LGBT people on the part of the Israeli majority population is overwhelming.

So in Tel Aviv there is a good climate for the ESC and its fan base.

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  • Comment from W. Pip (W. Pip)
    And again, only the shrillest pictures are served on the subject of LGBT. If you only finally showed the homophobic circles that this FIRST line is about normal people who have normal professions, you would certainly be able to pick up some of them. But the press doesn't understand. Too bad.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
    1. answer from Sebastian Demlgruber (SeDem)
      Absolutely right. It's like illustrating all Zurich topics with pictures of people on the Street Parade - even when it comes to housing policy or new tram lines. Some editors let themselves be seduced by the expressive, colorful motifs when choosing images - and do not think about whether the whole thing fits the topic at all.
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. Show answers
  • Comment from Christian Baumann (Christian Baumann)
    @ Bios-Zoe: Is there anything in the passage you quoted from the Bible that as a pastor you are not allowed to grope small children? The open-minded LGBTs - no matter how "horrible" they may be (see comment at the bottom) - at least adhere to the age of consent.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment
    1. answer from Bernhard Graf (Bios-Zoe)
      If one reads the passage carefully, such pastors are certainly included, and the other scriptures speak clearly enough about such atrocities, e.g. Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18 and much more.
      Agree agree to the comment
    2. answer from Christian Baumann (Christian Baumann)
      @ Bios-Zoe: It's good that it is there too. Can you please spell it out slowly to Messrs. Bergolio, Ratzinger & Co at the next opportunity?
      Agree agree to the comment
    3. Show answers
  • Comment from Bernhard Graf (Bios-Zoe)
    It is precisely in Israel, the origin of the Christian faith, that the promise made in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 21: 5-8, applies.
    Agree Agree to the comment Select answers to reply to the comment

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