Harel Skaat Gives Voice to LGBT Issues in Israel

Harel Skaat has increasingly applied the power of his fame in recent years to social activism — usually on behalf of Israel’s LGBT community.

I’ll never forget the look on the face of my middle-aged car service driver. I had just finished an hourlong, exceedingly pleasant conversation with Israeli pop singer Harel Skaat at a coffee shop next to his upscale apartment in north Tel Aviv a couple of years ago. When Skaat and I stood next to the car’s window and explained where I needed to go, the seemingly bored driver stared straight ahead and nodded a quick “B’seder” (OK).

Then he glanced to his left and saw who was speaking. The driver’s eyes widened, his jaw dropped, and he exclaimed slowly and loudly, “HA – REL SK-A-AT!!!!!,” and I suddenly had a much clearer understanding of just how Uber-popular this entertainer is in his home country.

Skaat has increasingly applied the power of his fame in recent years to social activism — usually on behalf of Israel’s LGBT community — after coming out as gay in 2010. Last week, he took the lead in vehemently expressing outrage over the Israeli government’s decision to keep in place regulations that make it nearly impossible for same-sex couples to adopt children.


Earlier this year, Harel Skaat took part in a visual campaign against bullying, organized by Israel Gay Youth (IGY)

After speaking to members of an Israeli gay youth organization, Skaat made a highly controversial recommendation that they protest by avoiding military service, saying, “As an Israeli who loves his country and is proud to be a Jew and speaks about it on every stage around the world, proudly served in the military, whose spouse is a major in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] and who serves for nearly one month a year until today, I call upon you not to enlist in the military!” He additionally suggested that once they are employed, they refrain from paying taxes.

The singer followed that up by headlining a rally in Tel Aviv attended by a reported 10,000 demonstrators on July 20, decrying the de facto ban on adoptions by same-sex couples. Continue reading on Jewish Journal