Some 500 people participated Friday in the 5th Gay Pride Parade in Eilat. In addition to the transgenders, gays and lesbians on hand, the event also attracted dozens of local straight men and women who paraded along the city’s main avenue all the way to Papaya Beach, where the festivities took place.
Despite the relatively low number of participants this year, organizers said they are convinced thousands more will flock to Israel’s southernmost city for Friday night’s party on Dekel Beach.
Gay pride in Eilat (Photo: Meir Ochayon)
This year’s parade was secured by an unprecedented number of police officers, who closed the city’s main street for traffic. Unlike previous years, when the local municipality hung Gay Parade banners along the streets, this time participants made due with flags supplied by gay community members.
'My friends and I are very upset'
The parade in Eilat attracted many gay community members from central Israel who were disappointed by the cancellation of the annual Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade.
“It’s a shame they called the Tel Aviv parade off,” Givatayim resident Idan Arbiv, 25, said. “This is one of the most colorful events there is, and I have no doubt in my mind that next year they will realize what a huge mistake they made.”
Tel Aviv resident Adam Mishali, 20, who also made the trip to Eilat, was disappointed with the cancellation of the parade in his home town.
“My friends and I are very upset ; we understand that they plan to move the festivities to Jerusalem, but we do not plan on going,” he said.
Liat from Haifa said holding “there is no other place, certainly not Jerusalem, with the openness that is exhibited at the Tel Aviv parade; it would just be a waste to hold the parade in Jerusalem.”
The Eilat Gay Parade festivities will conclude Saturday night with a party at the Touch nightclub in the city.