LGBT Rights in Israel

LGBT rights in Israel have advanced in recent years and have generally been seen as one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East and Asia. Israel has a proven track record of supporting more LGBT rights than most other countries, including the U.S.

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Laws regarding same-sex sexual activity

1988 – Israel abolished the decades-old ban on sodomy of any kind.
1992 – Discrimination against LGBT individuals in the workplace was prohibited in legislation.
1993 – The Israeli Army adopted a policy of allowing openly LGBT soldiers to serve in any capacity.
1994 – The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of granting spousal benefits to same-sex couples.
1997 – The Israeli Defense Minister announced that same-sex partners would be recognized as family members by the Defense Department.
2000 – The Knesset lowered the legal age of consent for same-sex relations from 18 to 16.
2000 – The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that lesbians can officially become adoptive mothers of their same-sex partners’ children.
2004 – Israeli courts ruled LGBT couples qualify for common-law marriage and for full inheritance rights.
2005 – Israeli LGBT couples were granted full adoption rights.
2006 – Israel recognized same-sex marriage performed in countries where it’s legalized.
2014 – Interior Minister officially decided that, according to the Law of Return, Jews in same-sex relationships married abroad wishing to immigrate to Israel can do so – even if their partners are not Jewish – and both them and their partners will receive Israeli citizenship.

LGBT rights movement in Israel

Since the 1970s there has been an active gay rights movement that has often affiliated itself with the Israeli feminist movement and various liberal and social democratic political parties.

Israel has an active gay community, with well attended annual gay pride festivals held in Tel Aviv since 1993 and Jerusalem since 1998. Pride events are also held regularly in Haifa, Beer Sheva, Petah Tikva, Hadera, Ra’anana, Eilat and Rishon LeZion.

The biggest LGBT organization, called The Aguda: The Israeli National LGBT Task Force, was founded in 1975. Other key organizations in Israel include Hoshen, the education and information center, IGY– Israeli Gay Youth organization, Tehila, which is the Israeli PFlag, and The Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance – the flagship LGBT organization in Jerusalem and its only LGBT center.

Key LGBT People in Israel

Members of the Parliament (Knesset, Past and Present )

Uzi Even
Nitzan Horowitz

City Councils Members (Past and Present)

Etai Pinkas (City Council and advises the mayor on LGBT affairs, Tel Aviv)
Yaniv Weizman
Michal Eden

LGBT Community Leaders (Past and Present)

Nora Greenberg (Executive Director of the Aguda, Israeli National LGBT Task Force)
Hannah Klein (“First lesbian of Tel Aviv”)
Shai Doitsh ( Chairman of the Aguda, Israeli National LGBT Task Force)

Musicians

Ivri Lider
Dana International
Yehuda Poliker
Mickiyagi
Adam
Amir Fay-Guttman
Dudu Yzhaki
Ellyott
Harel Skaat
Korin Alal
Ohad Hitman
Offer Nissim
Rona Kenan
Yael Deckelbaum
Yehonathan
Yehudit Ravitz

Actors and Entertainers

Orna Banai
Assi Azar

Filmmakers

Eytan Fox
Tomer Heymann
Yariv Mozer

Social Media Supersars

Eliad Cohen
Idan Matalon