Gay in Jerusalem
By: Ezra Rabinowitz
As a city rich with religion and history, Jerusalem is one of the more conservative cities in Israel. It has a large population of religious Jews, as well as a large population of religious Muslims in Eastern Jerusalem. Being gay in Jerusalem can be difficult because many residents hold a very traditional opinion in regards to gay relations. Afterall, the Bible and the Koran both forbid it.
Looking a little deeper, it is not difficult to understand the gap between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem when it comes to the public status of the LGBTQ community. Jerusalem is a city with very deep religious roots, while Tel Aviv is a city that sprung up from sand dunes out of nothingness and sprouted skyscrapers and startups.
Despite the differences between both these cities, the gay pride parade still hits the town every year in Jerusalem. And although it must be escorted by masses of security forces, the celebration of freedom, love, and acceptance proudly takes place in Israel’s capital.
We spoke to Dror, a member of the LGBTQ community in Jerusalem. “Over the last few years, things have improved immensely for the LGBTQ community in Jerusalem. We have grown strong over the years, despite the vibes being very different than those Tel Aviv. But that’s a good thing since the scene in Jerusalem is much more laid back and quieter than the scene in Tel Aviv. Some people prefer that. Here, members of the community that feel a strong connection to the spirituality of Jerusalem feel at home, comfortable and welcome”.
Jerusalem is home to the Video bar, a gay-friendly bar that welcomes all, offering a laid-back yet lively atmosphere. The bar was founded in response to the growing demands of the local community. A place to get together was needed, and the Video bar filled that void quite easily.
The LGBTQ community is a welcoming, strong and lively community, that has become an integral part of mainstream Israeli society. As Israelis, we can say that we are very proud that such a positive community has grown so much, and has come to symbolize strength, tolerance and love – values held dearly to our hearts.