On a warm Thursday evening, June 29, 2023, the Embassy of Israel in Washington opened its doors to host a vibrant and inclusive Pride celebration. Led by Ambassador Michael Herzog with the presence of Admiral Rachel L. Levine, M.D., the Assistant Secretary for Health, who made history as the highest-ranking openly transgender official in a US presidential administration, the event aimed to celebrate and honor the LGBTQ+ community, promoting the values of inclusion, diversity, and love.
The festivities kicked off with colorful decorations adorning the event space, reflecting the bright and exuberant spirit of the LGBTQ+ community. To symbolize unity and acceptance, all the food items were carefully arranged in chromatic order, signifying the beauty that arises from embracing diversity.
Ambassador Herzog delivered a powerful speech, emphasizing that Pride goes beyond mere tolerance and calls for equity, inclusivity, and love. He stressed the importance of standing against voices that spread intolerance and bigotry, not only in Israel and the United States but across the globe. In hosting such a celebration, the Israeli Embassy reaffirmed its commitment to championing the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and promoting a more tolerant and compassionate world.
Addressing the gathering, Admiral Levine expressed her gratitude for being a part of the Israeli embassy's Pride event, calling it an "absolute honor." Her presence resonated deeply with the attendees, as she has shattered several glass ceilings as the first openly transgender four-star officer in any United States uniformed service and the first openly transgender person to hold a Senate-confirmed office.
The event brought together 300 guests, including esteemed state and local officials from Washington, Maryland, and Virginia, members of the media, and leaders from civil society and the Jewish community.
Adding to the festive atmosphere, the celebration was graced by the presence of Eurovision 2018 winner and LGBTQ+ ally, Netta Barzilai. Netta's magnetic performance, including her global hit "Toy," enthralled and uplifted the audience. Her presence at the event exemplified the growing movement of artists and celebrities supporting LGBTQ+ causes and advocating for greater acceptance and understanding. Netta is now gearing up to embark on the “Wonderful” tour in September, covering Europe and the USA, featuring her latest single “Everything."