Gay Israelis prepare for their big day
Posted on June 10, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
There is an old joke around these parts. Question: Other than Jerusalem, what do ultra-religious Jews, Muslims and Christians love? Answer: They love to hate homosexuals.
But travel the 60km (40 miles) from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, and you enter a world apart. Major streets are decked with the multi-coloured Gay Pride banner.
In this centenary year of the city, this is now Gay Pride month. On Friday, in Meir Dizengoff park, tens of thousands of people are expected to attend the annual Gay Pride parade which will end, this year, with a twist.
Four couples will take part in what is being called Israel’s first, public, gay wedding ceremony.
Tal Dekel and Itay Gourevitch, are sitting, wedged happily next to each other, on a park bench. Tal is a fashion designer, Itay a website editor. Both are 33. They have been together for eight years, since the night they met in a club.
Two weeks ago, they decided to get married. “It’s a chance to have our own rights: to have a quiet corner with our family, just like everyone else,” says Tal.
Itay says that things have improved for gay and lesbian Israelis. He can now, at least in Tel Aviv, walk down the street, arm in arm with his partner. “Fifteen years ago, I would have been beaten up.”
But there is still discrimination, he says. “As a gay couple, we can’t get a loan to buy a house together. We don’t have the right to adopt a child: we’d have to go abroad to do that. But we have all the obligations: we have to pay all the taxes.”
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