As is becoming increasingly customary throughout the world, our little Tel Aviv
is going to have a Pride Parade of its very own this very Friday. Its not exactly a new things, Pride Parades have been held in Tel Aviv eight times before, and in the last three years it even got sponsorship from the Tel Aviv municipality, and several political parties (mostly MERETZ
, but last year also Shinui
It's no wonder that the only parade in Israel should be in Tel Aviv (oh, other cities, like Haifa do have some parties and ceremonies to celebrate Pride Week, Month or whatever, but not even close in scale to what's going on in Tel Aviv). Aside for being the center of the largest cluster of cities in Israel, and therefore of the largest population center (even though Tel Aviv proper is smaller than Jerusalem, the capital), and aside from the fact that Israel is certainly not a large country and most of its cities are quite provincial, Tel Aviv is simply the most important secular cultural center and the stronghold of liberalism in Israel.
However, unlike the last two years, I'm quite apprehensive about participating in the parade this year. It's not that I don't think that the Pride Parade is important, quite the contrary. Despite the fact that it has become commercialized in recent years, and although now, with sponsorship given by the Municipality, the parade has lost some of its revolutional zeal and its message of protest, there are still many people, groups and organizations that would deprive us of our civil rights given half a chance. It's important to show them we're here.
No, my worry derives from other sources completely. As most of you have heard we've had quite a few terrorists attacks in Israel recently, the largest of which, not 2 weeks ago in Tel Aviv. These attacks are not meant against gay people, but against Jews. Any Jew. Those attacks target large clusters of people, regardless of age, sex or sexual orientation, in order to kill as many as possible. And Friday seems to have become their preferred day.
Some people are going to protest against the occupation of the Palestinian territories in the parade, and there are even going to be some gay people from Ram Allah, but I doubt this is going to give pause for any fundamentalist moslem martyr-wannabe. I guess they'd just as well kill Jews and perverts in one big KABOOM.
Paradoxically, gay people have most to fear, going to this parade, for the fact that they belong to the Jewish people, when usually those who threaten to disrupt the parade are those who wish to separate us from the rest of the nation. Should anything happen in the parade (and I really do hope nothing will), it would be rather interesting to watch the reactions of various leaders in Israel. Not the Left-Wing leaders of-course, their reaction is completely predictable. Not the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders as well, they'd probably say that whatever happened, happened because god wanted to show his discontent of such parades, and would then shout aloud their old rhetoric about how all our nations problems derive from the fact that not all Jews are Ultra-Orthodox. But what would be interesting to see, is the reaction of the secular Right-Wing. What would Sharon say?
Unlike the Ultra-Orthodox, gay people are very much involved in Israeli society. We serve in the army and the reserve forces, we pay taxes (usually more than the average straight couple, because our partnerships are not usually recognized), and we share the same cultural background as that of most Israeli society. However, during the years the Secular Right Wing has always preffered alligiance with the Ultra-Orthodox parties. It would be quite interesting to watch his reaction to a catastrophe like this, should it happen (and I hope it won't)...