Tel Aviv opens its arms to gay rights


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The Independent Online

Drag queens, dancers and shirtless men were partying through central Tel Aviv yesterday as thousands packed the streets for the city's annual gay pride parade. Colourful floats with scantily dressed revellers drove through the streets as crowds cheered, waved flags and gyrated to loud music as Israel's homosexual community celebrated the event.

Tel Aviv is one of the few places in the Middle East where gay people feel free to walk hand-in-hand and kiss in public. They are also able to serve openly in Israel's military. The Parliament and Supreme Court have granted homosexuals a variety of family rights, such as inheritance and survivor's benefits.

Earlier this year, Tel Aviv was picked by readers of the travel website, Gaycities, as the top gay destination – ahead of Amsterdam and San Francisco.