Tel Aviv mayor cancels city’s pride parade ‘out of respect’ to hostages

The largest Pride parade in the Middle East to be replaced with a rally for freedom as mayor pays respect to hostages


Tel Aviv Pride march in 2022 (Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The annual gay pride parade in Tel Aviv has been cancelled by Mayor Ron Huldai due to concerns for Israeli hostages held in Gaza

Instead of the usual march, Huldai said that the city and LGBTQ+ organisations would host a rally for “pride, hope and freedom.”

Making the announcement on Wednesday, the mayor said that the parade was cancelled because of the continued plight of the hostages in Gaza.

“This isn’t the time for celebrations,” Huldai wrote on X, adding: “132 of our sons and daughters are still hostages in Gaza, the bereavement circles keep widening, and every day we are in one of the most difficult periods of the State of Israel.”

The annual parade is normally considered a highlight of the city’s calendar, drawing in a crowd of tens of thousands of locals and visitors from all over the world. For the last 25 years, the street festivities have celebrated Israel’s LGBTQ+ community.

“Tel Aviv is the home of the LGBTQ+ community. It always has been and always will be,” Huldai said.

“This year we decided to divert part of the budget intended for the production of the pride parade, in favour of the activities of the "Pride Center" in Tel Aviv-Yafo.”

The Pride Centre offers a home to the LGBTQ+ community in Tel Aviv-Jaffa and the surrounding areas. It is an umbrella organisation for local LGBTQ+ activity and social involvement, as well as counselling services.

“We feel the pain of the entire country, and at the same time, we do not stop for a moment the fight for equality and freedom - for everyone and everything. See you at the Pride Parade in June 2025,” he tweeted.

In Jerusalem, the Pride and Tolerance March on May 30 will still be held along the traditional parade route and the event has been billed as part of the wider protest movement for the return of the hostages.

As they confirmed that the capital’s annual march would go ahead, organisers The Jerusalem Open House, noted that the parade was already characterized as a protest.

The annual LGBTQ+ march through Jerusalem is seen as a rejection of the religious fundamentalists who seek to limit gay rights in Israel’s capital and across the country. In 2015, the Jerusalem pride parade was the scene of a deadly attack by an ultra-Orthodox knifeman.

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