On June 8, an estimated 250,000 people attended the Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv. Tourists from all around the world came to Israel to watch and participate in the event. The theme of this year’s event is “The Community Makes History” — a reference to the LGBT community in Israel.
Meanwhile, as the Israelis were celebrating tolerance on the streets of Tel Aviv, their Palestinian neighbors were busy doing precisely the opposite: they were demanding that people should be fired for producing a television comedy about gay people in the Gaza Strip.
The controversial program, called “Out of Focus,” has drawn strong condemnations from Palestinians, who are now calling for punishing those responsible for “insulting Arab and Islamic values.”
In Palestinian and Arab society, homosexuality is denounced and stigmatized. Homosexuality is illegal under Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, and dozens of gay Palestinians have fled to Israel out of fear of persecution and harassment. In the West Bank, the laws of the Palestinian Authority also do not protect the rights of gay Palestinians.