The Aguda - The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel released its municipal pride index on Tuesday, ranking different municipalities in Israel according to their relationship with the LGBTQ community.
For the first time ever, Tel Aviv did not take first place overall and instead dropped down to number five.
The index, released in preparation for Pride Month in June, ranked municipalities based on five metrics: welfare, education, infrastructure, public visibility and culture. It examined, among other things, whether municipalities allowed LGBTQ+ couples to register themselves as married to receive the appropriate benefits and services. They also looked into the legal and social welfare-related resources available in each municipality that specialize in LGBTQ+ rights.
Eighty-five cities and municipal authorities were accounted for in this year's assessment, which consisted of 34 specific questions.
Which of Israel's cities ranked the best and most gay-friendly?
The city of Givatayim came out on top, with the best overall score in its relationship with its LGBTQ+ residents. Tel Aviv dropped from first to fifth place, with Ramat Gan, Rishon Lezion and Kfar Saba placing second, third and fourth.
The data showed that the southern Israeli cities of Beersheba and Dimona made considerable progress, as did Netanya, Ashdod and Or Yehuda.
לקראת חודש הגאווה: מהפך! גבעתיים, רמת גן וראשל"צ הן המובילות ביחסן לקהילה הגאה, עיריית ת"א יורדת אל המקום ה-5 אחרי 3 שנים במקום ה-1, כך לפי מדד הגאווה של @AgudaIsraelLGBT. מבין 85 רשויות ששיתפו פעולה, עיריית דימונה עם העלייה הגבוהה ביותר ; לעומתה עיריית ירושלים בתחתית הדירוג >> pic.twitter.com/1zXqEa8leR— Maya Schocken || מיה שוקן (@MayaSchocken) May 16, 2023
The municipality of Givatayim held dozens of events throughout the last year for the benefit of the LGBTQ+ community, including special training for municipal staff in regard to LGBTQ+ issues. The city also established a dedicated medical clinic for gay families and was the first municipality to allow LGBTQ+ couples to register as married.
The city of Jerusalem received the worst score, sharing the lowest ranking with the 13 municipalities that chose not to participate in the index. Per Aguda's press release, Jerusalem "avoids taking public responsibility for the needs of its LGBTQ+ residents, and avoids providing funds and services to the [LGBT] community."
Per the report, Jerusalem does not host or even endorse any pride events, including the Jerusalem Pride Parade, Instead, it allows the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance to organize such events with funding provided by order of the High Court of Justice.
The report was presented on Tuesday to President Isaac Herzog by the organization's chairperson Hila Parr along with CEO Ran Shalhavi. Several municipality heads were also in attendance.
"We are big believers in 'The Israeli Mosaic,'" said Herzog, "the integration of everyone in their own way in [various] circles of life – [this certainly includes] the LGBTQ+ community, which is very significant in Israeli society. I congratulate the heads of municipal authorities who are here – this is an outstanding achievement... We encourage all municipal authorities to be involved in this."
Parr added: "In places where the government avoids performing its duties in front of citizens who all want equality and inclusion, the local authority [can step in and intervene], and therein lies its power. This is a proud local revolution and we will continue it, especially in the coming period with the pride events throughout the country which [constitute] the biggest protest [movement] in Israel for equality and tolerance."