More Than 200,000 Attend Tel Aviv Pride

“Everyone should be able to live as they want to live."

More than 200,000 people crammed into the streets of Tel Aviv today to celebrate at the largest Pride parade in the Middle East.

Streets were shut down as drag queens, community leaders, political groups and more marched along the beach to Charles Clore Park, where musical acts performed well into the evening. This year’s Pride celebration included a film festival, forums and the first Miss Trans Israel pageant.

Tel Aviv has become a major gay travel destination, with popular nightclubs and an unofficial gay beach. But some activists complain the government touts the city as an LGBT tourist destination while Palestinians are still discriminated against and same-sex couples cannot have their relationships recognized.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - 2016/06/03: Despite a call to boycott by some local LGBT organizations who protested about the poor condition of the community, thousands joined the 18th official Gay Pride Parade. (Photo by Laura Chiesa/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Laura Chiesa/Pacific Press/LightRocke

Security at this year’s event was heightened after an Ultra-Orthodox Jew, Yishai Shlissel, attacked celebrants at Jerusalem Pride last year. Sixteen-year old Shira Banki died as a result of the attack. (The Tel Aviv parade began with a moment of silence for Banki.)

 

 

Organizers had tried to told the Times of Israel. “It started out as just a thing for the gays, but now you can see so many groups, including political groups like Meretz and Peace Now. That’s nice to see people getting involved.”

Below, more images from Tel Aviv Pride 2016

A woman carrying a child on her shoulder waves a rainbow flag during the opening event of the annual Gay Pride parade in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on June 3, 2016. A carefree and cosmopolitan crowd of tens of thousands of homosexuals, transsexuals and supporters took part it the Gay Pride in Tel Aviv, deemed one of the largest in the world where amid the crowd, tourists waved large flags of their country of origin to signify their presence in a city known as a rare oasis for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) in the Middle East.  / AFP / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty
A drag queen and Gogo dancers take part in the opening event of the annual Gay Pride parade in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on June 3, 2016. A carefree and cosmopolitan crowd of tens of thousands of homosexuals, transsexuals and supporters took part it the Gay Pride in Tel Aviv, deemed one of the largest in the world where amid the crowd, tourists waved large flags of their country of origin to signify their presence in a city known as a rare oasis for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) in the Middle East.  / AFP / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A drag queen and gogo dancers attend the annual Gay Pride parade in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, on June 3, 2016. A carefree and cosmopolitan crowd of tens of thousands of homosexuals, transsexuals and supporters took part it the Gay Pride in Tel Aviv, deemed one of the largest in the world where amid the crowd, tourists waved large flags of their country of origin to signify their presence in a city known as a rare oasis for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) in the Middle East.  / AFP / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

הרמנו. גאווה 2016 📷 @benkelmer #telavivpride2016 #tlvpride2016 #telavivpride #ilovetlv

A video posted by טיים אאוט תל אביב (@timeout_telaviv) on

🎉🇮🇱 #telavivpride @dalv24 @tammyfleischman

A photo posted by Perla Scialom (@perlascialom) on

Tel Aviv Pride! ❤️💛💚💙💜#shabbatshalom #telavivpride

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מצב שמצאתי את אהבת חיי #אעדכן

A photo posted by menachem moreshet (@menimor1) on

Follow the rainbow crosswalk to the White City. #shorashim #birthright #bus51 #telavivpride

A photo posted by Adam Dadson (@adam_dadson) on

-Tel Aviv Gay Pride – #goisrael #telaviv #telavivpride #telavivpride2016 #justbexxit

A photo posted by Yvonne Beck (@bexx71) on

Celebrating with the love of my life #tlvpride2016 #telavivpride

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#telavivpride #tlvpride2016

A photo posted by michaelshuval (@michaelshuval) on

Philippines represent! #telavivpride 2016 #gaytravels

A photo posted by jeigh pengson – santarina (@jeigh_p_s25) on

Tel Aviv Pride 2016 #telaviv #telavivpride #israel #birthrightisrael #birthright

A photo posted by Sam Muench (@dirtyscrubs) on

#telavivpride

A photo posted by Oscar Hernandez🔱 (@oscarhdezr) on

#telaviv #happy #pride #telavivpride #israel

A photo posted by 💭Think less, live more🙌🏾 (@roniegadiel) on

Today was the annual Pride Parade and the LGBT community and the city painted Tel Aviv with rainbow joy. #telavivpride #prideparade #lgbt

A photo posted by Steven Winston Photography (@swinston_photography) on

🦄🦄🦄 #telavivpride

A photo posted by @mr_fabulous_j on

Tel Aviv Pride 2016

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Tel Aviv.

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