Usually when you think of the Middle East, 'Gay-Friendly' is not a term that comes to mind. In many countries, in this part of the world, members of the LGBT community regularly hide their lifestyle. Society in the better cases, frown upon members of the gay community: in the worst cases – they are persecuted or oppressed.
On the other hand, people are often surprised to find out that Israel represents an “Island of Tolerance” amidst its neighbors. Tel-Aviv is voted time and time again an outstanding Gay leisure travel destination.
Last Sunday, during the Chicago Pride parade, the Israeli Consulate joined with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to celebrate the diversity and tolerance of Israel sending the message, “From Israel With Pride.”
I had the opportunity to walk with Consul General Roey Gilad, ADL Regional Director Lonnie Nasatir, Consulate and ADL staff members, and about 100 others. In this fifth year that Israel has participated in the parade, we welcomed a special guest from Israel, Natalie Sade, executive director of "The Aguda"- The National Israeli LGBT Task Force. This organization, established in 1975 as the pioneer task force of the LGBT Israeli community, serves as a human rights organization that works to improve the life of LGBT people.