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9 LGBT Israelis to Watch in 2017

As we open 2017, A Wider Bridge brings you a list of nine LGBT Israelis to keep an eye on in the new year. We invite you to fill out: Who should be the 10th?

1. Amir Ohana (politics)
The right-wing gay Member of Knesset was already selected by Globes magazine as one of the most promising people of the year. Ohana plays in a very difficult field: on one hand, he has expectations from the LGBTQ community to fight for equality and have our voices heard in the Knesset. On the other hand, to navigate the partially religious and sometimes homophobic right wing government is not that easy. Regardless, by not hiding his sexual orientation, Amir makes history and demonstrates to his fellow members that being gay shouldn’t be an issue any more.

2. Zehorit Sorek (Social/politics)
In 2015 she was the first openly lesbian candidate in the Israeli elections, but despite failing to enter the Knesset as MK, Zehorit Sorek’s work is nonetheless important. As a leader of Bat Kol and of the LGBT caucus in the Yesh Atid party, Sorek’s work and influence to make lives of the LGBTQ community in Israel better is very important. Sorek is currently focusing on the visibility of religious LGBTQ people in the orthodox community, the most radical of all groups in Israel which is already changing, and with that, hopefully, a bigger change will come.
Related: Meet Zehorit Sorek in selected cities throughout the U.S. in January 2017

3. Omer Nahmany (social)
In 2016 Omer Nahmany created a buzz around the world with his selfie in uniform, calling for equality for LGBT people in the military. Since then, he’s become a prominent activist who’s unafraid of making his voice heard, launching a new organization “Pride Blue and White” – for the well being of LGBT people serving in the IDF and the Israeli police, and he recently even met with the president of Israel. The handsome 26 year old’s future looks like a social-political one, and we should be watching him.


4. Miki Zaidel (social)
A Wider Bridge predicts that 2017 will put the bisexual community in the forefront. Miki Zaidel, dubbed the first out pansexual officer in the Israeli army, is one of the founders and a prominent leader of the Bi/Pan/Poly forum in Israel and is one of the big forces behind the push for bisexual visibility. With the rise of this issue and the negative connotation this community faces from the straight and gay communities alike, we predict you’ll hear more about Miki.


5. Talleen Abu Hanna (entertainment)
The beautiful Christian-Arab transgender woman has already scored in an international denim campaign and ended up at #4 on our most popular stories of 2016 list, but A Wider Bridge predicts that we’ll hear so much more about her in 2017. Talleen is currently on the high-rated show Big Brother, becoming a reality TV star in Israel, and regardless of whether she’s eliminated from the show or not, there’s no single Israeli today who doesn’t know who she is, and we think that 2017 will spark her career even higher.

6. Daniel Jonas (social)
A couple of weeks ago, Daniel Jonas, a religious Jew and leader of Havruta, the organization for gay religious men in Israel, sat with his husband on national news and spoke about the change in the religious community toward gay people, a change that he and his group are responsible for in a big way. In a country where very often voices of hate like Rabbi Yigal Levenshtein‘s are being heard, Daniel works rather quietly, in the field, trying to change orthodox rabbis’ minds one at a time, bringing us success stories like gems, and he hopefully will continue doing so in 2017.
Related: Meet Zehorit Sorek in selected cities throughout the U.S. in January 2017

7. Sarah Weil (Social) The lesbian religious activist from the Yerushalmit movement has been selected as one of the 50 biggest social activists of 2016 by top Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot. Weil initiated the meetings between secular and religious people following the murder of Shira Banki at the Jerusalem Gay Pride, and led the initiation to change the name of Zion Square in Jerusalem to Shira Banki Square. Sarah Weil is a prominent activist who works for Jerusalem to be more tolerant towards LGBT people.


 8. Shine Horovits (art)
Gay artist Shine Horovits changed the perception of photoshop art and digital art in Israel, and now he’s trying to make it in the U.S. The artist has recently moved to New York, after his ‘Lies’ exhibition, featuring big Israeli celebrities such as singer Rita, and actress-producer Noa Tishby, was presented there. We keep our fingers crossed and hope to see his career develop in 2017.


9. Sagi Krispin (Sport)
As a co-founder of the Tel Aviv LGBT Sports Club, Sagi Krispin is currently very busy with producing the first Tel Aviv Games, i.e. TAG2017. This professional swimmer recently won a bronze medal in the LGBT games in Berlin, and represented Israel in various tournaments around Europe. With a proper place on the LGBT sports map and conducted training, Sagi and his swimming team, TLV Nemos, have yet to say their final words.
Related: Donate to help fund the first LGBT sports games in Tel Aviv


10. ? Fill in your person to watch in 2017 in the comments or on our Facebook page. Tweet us @AWiderBridge.