Israel, Middle East

Israel is the world's only Jewish state. It is considered one of the most advanced countries in the Middle East in economic and industrial development. In 2007, Israel had the 22nd-highest gross domestic product per capita of US$33,299. The country is considered the most progressive and tolerant country in the Middle East in terms of gay rights. Common law marriage has already been achieved (which grants most of the official marriage rights to the spouse), but full official gay marriage has not yet been sanctioned. However, same-sex marriages performed elsewhere are recognized. Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and Cyprus are the only countries in the Middle East where homosexuality between consenting adults in private is not illegal and homosexuals are not persecuted under law. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where homosexuals are protected by anti-discrimination laws. Read More. Also see: Islam and Homosexuality

 

News & Reports:

 

Deadly Stigma: HIV Infections in Middle East on the Rise

Despite a historically low prevalence of HIV infections, countries in the Middle East and North Africa are facing a rising number of HIV/AIDS cases at a time when the rates of new infections drop across the globe as part of a concerted effort to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030. Such a dynamic is on… Read more »

Get An Up-Close Look At Israel’s First Transgender Beauty Pageant

Photographer Oded Balilty goes behind the scenes with “Miss Trans Israel.” New Yorkers can get a behind-the-scenes look at Israel’s first-ever transgender beauty pageant as part of Brooklyn’s annual “pop-up” photography festival. Oded Balilty, who nabbed a Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2007, is bringing his colorful series, “Miss Trans Israel,” to Photoville,… Read more »

What It Means To Be A Gay Teen In A Jewish Ultra-Orthodox Community

Recently, “Mira” cut her hair short. It was cute, and boyish. The next morning, she was called to the office in her high school yeshiva and told, “We don’t tolerate such shenanigans.” Girls at their school are required to look properly feminine, and all of them are expected to marry. “Sam” lives in a similar… Read more »

Thousands attend Jerusalem Pride, despite fears of repeat attack

Last year’s parade was stopped after a violent knife attack was carried out. Members of Jerusalem’s LGBT community are returning to the city’s streets today for an annual pride parade – one year after a deadly stabbing attack. This year’s parade is being dedicated to the memory of Shira Banki, the 16-year-old girl who was… Read more »

Israel gives green light to HIV-preventing PrEP drugs

Israel has become the latest country to approve the use of PrEP drugs to prevent HIV infection. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV if taken daily. The drug has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and is routinely available to at-risk men in the US… Read more »

Gay Iranian Poet Flees Persecution, Finds Himself in Israel

Payam Feili fled his native Iran last year because of the persecution he faced over his sexuality. Now, the gay poet has made a years-long dream come true — he is visiting Israel, Iran’s archenemy and a country known for its tolerance toward gays. But the 30-year-old Feili stands out not only because of his… Read more »

Tel Aviv boasts one of the world’s largest Gay Pride parades

Tel Aviv, Israel – The Middle East isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind when we think of LGBT equality. It may not even be the tenth. In report after report, countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are singled out for imposing the harshest penalties for homosexual activity, including death and lashings.… Read more »

Online activists spur change in Middle East, China, world

Online LGBT activism and community-building are the focus of this week’s video in the “Quorum” series of 11 discussions of international LGBTI issues. Moderator for the latest discussion is Andre Banks, executive director of AllOut.org, the U.S.-based advocacy organization that has enlisted 2 million people worldwide to take action online for LGBTI rights. Panelists /… Read more »

10 Reasons Why it’s Great to be Gay in Israel

“Israel is the most gay friendly nation in the Middle East” – as the headlines say, but what’s behind the rainbow-colored slogan? For all the skeptics and fans of Tel Aviv, Kristóf Yosef Steiner breaks down the White City’s major attributes First and foremost: No one asks you to choose between your religion and sexual… Read more »

Individual and Community Resilience Factors Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer and Questioning Youth and Adults in Israel.

Abstract Drawing on resilience theories, this study examined the individual and community factors of Israeli lesbians, gays, bisexuals, queers, and questioning (LGBQs) that contribute to positive mental health and the degree to which individual and community protective factors mitigate the adverse effect of risk factors for poor mental health. Differences in resilience factors between LGBQ… Read more »

Israel: Twice-cancelled Jerusalem Pride attracts low turnout

This year’s Jerusalem Pride – which was delayed twice due to the Gaza conflict – has finally gone ahead, but attracted a lower-than-expected turnout. The Pride event, which was initially due to take place in August but was delayed over security fears during the Gaza conflict, finally took place yesterday. Held in Shabbat Square, reported… Read more »

Israel allows Jews to immigrate with same-sex spouses

The Israeli Government says it will now allow Jews to immigrate to Israel with their non-Jewish same-sex spouses. Interior Minister Gideon Saar told immigration authorities on Tuesday not to differentiate between married gay and straight couples. Israel does not permit gay couples to marry in the country, but recognises same-sex marriages if they were performed… Read more »

Jerusalem LGBT center falsely linked to killing of Palestinian

Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, an LGBT community center that has operated in Jerusalem for more than a decade, became embroiled earlier this month in the controversy surrounding the July 2 killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian youth that triggered new fighting between Israel and Gaza. Israeli police and the internal Israeli security agency… Read more »

How Pink-Washing Leaves Israel Feeling Squeaky Clean

Now that suspected Jewish extremists have confessed to the murder of Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir and are in police custody, it is only fair to look at the rumored scenarios that were spread before the Shoafat murder was seemingly solved – the ones speculating that the motive for the murder was an “honor killing.”… Read more »

‘Steep rise’ in HIV infection feared among gay Israeli men, says survey

Israel: A survey conducted by the Israel AIDS Task Force shows the likelihood of a steep rise in HIV infection rates among gay men in the country, reports GayAsiaNews.com. Of the 989 men who participated in the online poll of gay men, 48 percent reported having unprotected sex at least once this year. The survey,… Read more »

Israel to legalise surrogacy for gay couples

Israel will legalise surrogacy for gay couples and has begun to issue passports for babies born via surrogacy abroad, ministers have announced. Currently, surrogacy is only legal for married couples, meaning that all same-sex couples have to travel abroad if they want to use a surrogate. However, under the changes, it will become legal for… Read more »

Israel’s first memorial to gay Holocaust victims unveiled

Israel’s first memorial to the homosexual victims of the Nazis was inaugurated on Tuesday in a Tel Aviv park near the city’s Gay Center Israel now has its first memorial to the gay victims of the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, with a public memorial to them unveiled in Tel Aviv’s Meir Park on Tuesday.… Read more »

Israeli President Shimon Peres says he supports same-sex marriage

Shimon Peres has told Israeli news agency YNet that he supports same-sex marriage because all human beings should have the same rights, during a state visit to Mexico Israeli President Shimon Peres has become the highest ranking Israeli politician to announce their support for same-sex couples having the right to marry – although his role… Read more »

Being Gay in Tel Aviv, the Manhattan of the Middle East

My mom is a gay civil rights activist. Let’s get down to it: The reason I support Israel is that I found a different cause from my mom’s. Yet I remain deeply invested in gay civil rights. I cried when gay marriage was legalized in New York on June 24, 2011. New Yorkers, gay and… Read more »

Israel to honour gay Holocaust victims with first monument

Israel has announced that it is to erect a monument in the honour of gay victims of the Holocaust, the first of its kind in the country. The memorial is to be completed in Meir Park, Tel Aviv later this year, and the first of its kind in Israel. Like other monuments around the world,… Read more »

Conjugal visits approved for gay and lesbian prisoners in Israel

The Israel Prison Service has announced its prisoner’s ordinance allows conjugal visits for homosexual prisoners Homosexual prisoners in Israel have now been granted conjugal visits. Gay and lesbian prisoners in Israel have been granted the same conjugal visitation rights as straight prisoners. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Israel Prison… Read more »

Israel’s Tel Aviv holds annual gay pride parade

Tel Aviv, Israel (AP) — Drag queens, politicians, grandmothers and shirtless men descended on Tel Aviv in their thousands Friday to party in the annual gay pride parade, the 15th march to be held in an Israeli city that has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly. Loud dance music beat along the parade’s… Read more »

Three arrested for Israel gay youth shooting

Israeli police arrested three suspects in connection with a shooting which left two dead and dozens injuried at a Tel-Aviv gay youth center shooting in 2009 Israeli police have arrested three suspects in connection with a shooting at Tel-Aviv’s gay youth center in 2009. The three suspects who were arrested today (5 June) will appear… Read more »

Young man assaulted and injured on a Jerusalem bus for being gay

A young man from Jerusalem, Israel was verbally abused and brutally assaulted on a night bus for being gay, while passengers and security stood by and did not intervene A young gay man was attacked on a Jerusalem night bus, receiving facial injuries. The youth in his early twenties went out with friends in Jerusalem,… Read more »

Palestinian gay couple killed by Israeli Gaza bombing

Two gay Palestinians who lived in Gaza and were in a relationship were killed when an Israeli bomb directly hit their apartment building A gay Palestinian couple was killed by an Israeli bomb that directly hit their apartment building. The two men, one aged 21 the other 31 years-old, were spending time in their apartment… Read more »

Tel Aviv is proud to present the first gay guest house!

Established specifically for gay singles or couples, the gay owned and operated Pink House is proud to make his guests feel at home. Pink House is located in the most exciting city of Israel – Tel Aviv. We offer gay travelers the perfect home away from home experience, whether you want to relax and unwind… Read more »

Twice Divided

For gay Palestinians, Tel Aviv is a precarious and complicated sanctuary. Ra’ed, a soft-spoken Israeli-Palestinian man in his forties, lives in south Tel Aviv with Ahmad, his devilishly handsome boyfriend. They are both from small Arab villages in the north of the country. In Tel Aviv, Ra’ed, Ahmad, and their friends live an ordinary life… Read more »

Israel: High rates of suicide among country’s LGBT youth

New research published this week in Israel has examined suicide rates among LGBT youth in the country. Kipa reports that for the first time, the suicide rates among different segments of Israeli youth have been analysed in detail. According to a study of 1,134 teens, 20% of gay youngsters surveyed had undertaken suicide attempts –… Read more »

Police out in force for Jerusalem Gay Pride

Thousands marched in central Jerusalem on Thursday for a milestone 10th anniversary Gay Pride parade, passing by the spot where an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed three participants in 2005. Some carried rainbow banners and others had signs proclaiming: “A decade of marching in Jerusalem,” and: “Love thy neighbour.” Opposition to such events is fiercer in Jerusalem,… Read more »

Israel’s Masorti Movement will ordain gay men and lesbians as rabbis

The Masorti Movement of Judaism in Israel will ordain gay and lesbian students as Conservative rabbis in Israel from the next academic year, it has been confirmed. The word ‘masorti’ means ‘traditional’ in Hebrew, though the movement itself has nothing to do with those who define themselves as ‘masorati,’ which also means ‘traditional,’ in a… Read more »

Orthodox Rabbis Oppose Gay Marriage

More than 100 Orthodox rabbis have signed onto a statement in opposition to same sex weddings, saying that gay marriage is a “desecration of Torah values.” The statement was a response to a November wedding between two men that was officiated by the Orthodox-ordained rabbi and longtime gay rights activist Steven Greenberg. Hailed as an… Read more »

HIV rate rises sharply among gay men in Israel

2010 data: One fifth of the 2,000 gay men who participated in a study did not use condoms during the previous six months. Among the 420 newly diagnosed cases of HIV in Israel in 2010, 148 of them were homosexual men, according to the Health Ministry, which is worried about the “dramatic increase” in infection… Read more »

Gay Israel News & Reports 2010-11

1 Court: Palestinian persecuted for homosexuality can stay in Israel 1/10 2 Live For Tel Aviv 4/10 3 Eyes Wide Open reveals the homophobia of Orthodox Judaism 5/10 4 Madrid gay pride march bans Israelis over Gaza flotilla raids 6/10 5 Tel Aviv Pride kicks off 6/10 6 Travel: Tel Aviv- bursting with pride 6/10… Read more »

Gay Israel News & Reports 2008-09

1 Lesbian and gay couples are adopting in Israel. 1/08 2 Israel’s other war 1/08 3 LGBT Palestinian organisation formed in Jerusalem 2/08 3a Drag against the occupation 3/08 4 Gay adoption ruling may set precedent in Israel 3/08 5 Out’ publishes guide to picking up Israeli men 3/08 6 Lesbian mums fight for legal… Read more »

Gay Israel News & Reports 2007

1 Tel Aviv, the final gay frontier 1/07 2 Jerusalem registers its first gay couple 1/07 2 West Bank gays more at home in Israel 2/07 4 Open House fights for J’lem gay parade 3/07 5 Arab lesbians wary of defying gay taboo 3/07 6 Arab Lesbians Hold Rare Public Meeting in Haifa, Defying Islamist… Read more »

Gay Israel News & Reports 2006

1 Israel’s Gay Forest 2/06 2 Preparations for Int’l Jerusalem Pride (August) Under Way 4/06 3 Jerusalem, Now (Non-gay travelogue) 4/06 4 5th Gay Pride Parade in Eilat 5/06 5 Israel Gay Youth organizatiion(IGY) 6 Gay drama in Holy City–Anti-Israel group call for WorldPride Boycott 6/06 7 WorldPride organizers undaunted amid protests, pledge safe event… Read more »

Gay Israel News & Reports 2005

1 Israeli court rules on lesbian couple adoption1/05 2 Gay parade a no-go? 2/05 3 New Israel Holocaust Memorial Honors Gay Victims 3/05 4 Gay Jerusalem determined to hold parade 3/05 5 Chief Rabbi gives his support to Jerusalem World Pride 4/05 6 Jerusalem Gay Bar Torched 4/05 7 Jerusalem gay pride parade postponed to… Read more »

Gay Israel News & Reports 2003-04

Press Release: WorldPride 2005 in Jerusalem The Jerusalem Open House is the GLBT community center serving the population of the Holy City and will be hosting the WorldPride celebrations in August 2005. As an organization that serves both Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs alike, the Jerusalem Open House works to unite a fragmented community,… Read more »

Gay Israel News & Reports 2000-02

Press Release: World Pride to be held in Jerusalem 2005 1 Two Books on Gay Israel 7/00 2 Coalition MKs stay away from gay Knesset gathering 3/01 3 High Court overturns rabbinical court ruling in lesbian case 3/01 4 Gay community center reaching out to gay Arabs 6/01 5 Israeli Army Weekly ordered closed after… Read more »