Tel Aviv Pride kicked off Friday, June 7, and attracted thousands of partygoers as the parade passed through the city. This year’s pride marks the 20th anniversary of the first Tel Aviv Pride.
The celebrators gathered on Friday morning. The parade began at 1pm and moved throughout the city.
Organizers for the parade, which featured live performances and speeches, said they had attracted an estimated 100,000+ people, beating out last year’s attendance.
Organizers also estimate that over 20,000 foreign visitors will travel to Tel Aviv over the coming weeks.
Notable attendees included Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat , Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, and openly gay Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz.
When Lapid went up to make his speech, he was not greeted with a warm welcome from the crowd. He received booing and chants. He stood there at the podium in silence waiting for the crowd to quiet before speaking.
Eventually, Lapid broke his silence by saying: “No screams and jeers will stop me from supporting the LGBT community.”
When Lapid finally had the crowd more responsive, he began to talk about the LGBT community in a positive light. He said he wanted to be a part of the parade to talk about “the rights of gay people to marry and adopt children.”
Lapid also added that he was proud of the Israeli LGBT community, and the community should take pride in itself in turn.
Also booed was the first official representative form the Likud party to speak at the Pride event, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat.
Livnat told the jeering crowd, “I came here today with love and pride, and I expect you to accept it. I will continue with my love and pride even if there will be some shouting, and I am proud of the Likud’s gay pride group. You ought to want a group like that in all of the political factions, and not come here to spew hate.”
Livnat applauded the LGBT community and its ability to overcome hardships and difficulties to reach great achievements.
“Can anyone imagine the Israeli culture without you? Listening to the radio, poetry, literature, cinema and theater?” the culture minister said.
The celebration also attracted Vincent Autin and his husband Bruno Boileau, who were the first gay couple to legally marry in France. Their wedding was held last week, and the couple chose to celebrate their honeymoon in Tel Aviv.
On Friday morning, Autin and Boileau arrived in Tel Aviv for the Pride festivities after spending the night at French Ambassador Christophe Bigot’s seaside mansion.
Autin said, “France has voted for the law of love. For us it’s very important to be a bridge, especially here in the Middle East, so that what’s happened in France, and the way we are received and embraced here, can become an example for the rest of the Middle East.”
The main parade may have ended at 3pm with a massive beach party hosted by Bar Refaeli at the cities Gordon Beach. But the pride parties and festivities don’t stop there, with activities planned throughout the week.