Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade 521.
(photo credit: Yoni Cohen)
Homosexual religious groups will be represented in a special float at Friday’s
Tel Aviv Gay Pride March – a reflection of their growing prominence in both the
homosexual and religious communities they come from.
Out and proud in Holy Lan
The lesbian Bat Kol
group, ‘Proud Minyan,’ religious groups from within the Israeli Gay Youth
Organization, and Havruta will all be in the march.
Gay Pride Parade held in Jerusalem
But, while in 2010
they were represented by a private car blaring hassidic music, this year they
received the endorsement of Google Israel, which has sponsored a truck for the
“The fact that Google approached us is proof that it is no longer
possible to ignore us,” said Havruta spokesman Daniel Jonas, of his organization
and the others in a statement.
“We are involved, influential and, first
and foremost, serve as a bridge between two extremes that in the not-distant
past seemed distant and irreconcilable: the religious and gay communities,”
“We are aware of the controversy around participating in the
march, but also of the great importance of it to members from the [LGTB]
community, and outside of it,” said Bat Kol spokeswoman Renana
Not all religious-homosexual groups will be marching on Friday,
The Kamoha group, which broke off from Havruta late last year
after feeling that the veteran religious gay group in Israel was compromising on
the religious adherence to which it was purportedly committed, will not take
part in the Tel Aviv event.
“We are against marching, and so are all the
national religious rabbis,” said Kamoha founder Amit.
“To march was not
an easy decision,” Jonas said on Thursday.
“One of the main reasons we
are marching is that we meet growing numbers of people who, upon seeing kippas
in the context of gay pride, realized that they are not alone, and were
“If, as a religious youth I had felt alone, without anyone
to turn to, today young religious people have many more options,” said
29-year-old Jonas, who grew up in a liberal- modern Orthodox household in the
Nowadays, he continued, rabbis contact him daily for help and
advice on their students.
“Without us, there would be hundreds of youths
from nationwide who wouldn’t know where to turn,” said Jonas. “Maybe this way we
are saving lives.”
Even so, marching in an event associated with the most
profane aspects of homosexuality is not an easy call for the groups struggling
for more recognition in the religious societies they come from, and seek to be
“To a certain extent, it could damage our reputation within the
religious sector,” said Jonas. “This isn’t the first time we are marching – we
marched in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem last year – and every year our numbers at the
march grow. Rabbis are asking our help and dealing with the issue [of
homosexuality among their students] more and more.”
“If we cease to
progress,” Jonas added, “we are liable to lose all of what we achieved up to