Gay Guide Israel

The age of consent is 16 years for all. Gays and lesbians in Israel enjoy the same freedoms as in many European countries. Since 2002 there has been a registered partnership for homosexuals. It is legally equal in many parts to heterosexual marriage, so homosexuals can claim tax privileges or the right of adoption since an according ruling of the Supreme Court in 2006. Israel is thus at the forefront of equality for homosexuals of any country in the Middle East. Tel Aviv hosts an annual festive Gay Pride, rainbow flags can be seen throughout the city, and there is a city-sponsored community center for homosexuals. But not everything is as harmonious as it seems. In 2005 and 2015, participants in the Jerusalem Gay Pride were injured by an Orthodox Jew who had stabbed people around him with a knife. He had only been released from prison a few weeks before the second attack in 2015. In 2008, a member of the ultra-Orthodox Shas Party commented in parliament that an earthquake was the punishment for homosexual activity. The worst attack against the homosexual community in Israel took place on 2 August 2009. A masked gunman killed two people in front of a homosexual youth centre in Tel Aviv. Eleven people were injured, four of them seriously. Despite the sporadic attacks, the Gay Pride in Tel Aviv has developed over the years into a major event that is now attended by around 200,000 people - a sign of social recognition. The protest march of the gays and lesbians in Jerusalem cannot be compared to the festivities in Tel Aviv. In 2011, Gay Pride was merged with other protest marches denouncing social conditions in Israel, so that political protest is much more strongly expressed here than in Tel Aviv.

Cities in Israel

HaifaJerusalemTel Aviv

Location: Middle East
Initials: ISR
International country code: 972 (omit 0 from area code)
International access code: 00, 012, 013, 014, 015, 018
Language: Modern Hebrew (Ivrit), Arabic, English and Russian are widely spoken
Currency: 1 New Shekel (NIS) = 100 Agorot
Population: 7,908,000
Capital: Jerusalem (Yerushalayim)
Religions: 76% Jewish, 17% Moslem, 2% Christian
Climate: The best time to visit is spring/fall. Apr-May/Sept-Oct). Summer (June-Aug) is quite warm along the coast, cooler in Jerusalem. Winter is mild along the coast, but it can snow in Jerusalem.
Important gay cities: Tel Aviv

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