Hillary Clinton has praised Tel Aviv Pride as a “bastion of liberty” in a keynote speech to a pro-Israel lobbying group.

The Democratic candidate was among candidates to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee this week, as well as Republicans Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

The former Secretary of State spoke out in favour of Tel Aviv Pride – which is the largest LGBT rights celebration in the Middle East.

She said: “We are both nations built by immigrants and exiles seeking to live and worship in freedom, nations built on principles of equality, tolerance and pluralism.

“At our best, both Israel and America are seen as a light unto the nations because of those values.

“This is the real foundation of our alliance, and I think it’s why so many Americans feel such a deep emotional connection with Israel. I know that I do.

“And it’s why we cannot be neutral about Israel and Israel’s future, because in Israel’s story, we see our own, and the story of all people who struggle for freedom and self-determination.

“There’s so many examples. You know, we look at the pride parade in Tel Aviv, one of the biggest and most prominent in the world.

“And we marvel that such a bastion of liberty exists in a region so plagued by intolerance. We see the vigorous, even raucous debate in Israeli politics and feel right at home.”

Mrs Clinton recently apologised for claiming that Ronald and Nancy Reagan helped start a “national conversation” on AIDS.

The Reagans are remembered for remaining entirely silent on the AIDS crisis in the 1980s – until after thousands of people had died.