Meet the Gay Palestinians of Tel Aviv- Jaffa

Blogger Kristóf Yosef Steiner sat down with Jake Witzenfeld, director of the forthcoming documentary Oriented that finishes its film fest tour in the UK and LA


It’s no news that Tel Aviv is the gayest city in the Middle East, and the daily struggle of the Palestinian youth – keeping their culture alive while being a part of Israeli society – is also exposed by the media. But there’s not much we know about the combination of the two issues: the life of the LGBTQ Israeli Arabs who, on one hand are longing for personal and national freedom, and on the other they are also fighting against the prejudice of their own culture.

After the international success of Israeli “gay movies” like “The Bubble” and “Out In The Dark”, which raised questions about Palestinian queers, it was just a matter of time before a feature film would come out, presenting the “other side” of the story. Now, here it is on full blast.

Where were you born, where did you grow up, and what made you so interested in exposing stories about the Middle East?

I’m British. I grew up in Essex, later on spending some time in London and Cambridge. I began studying English Literature at University but quickly realized that if I was going to spend three or four years of my life immersed in studies, I’d rather focus on my own culture so I switched to Middle Eastern Studies with a focus on Hebrew language and culture and developed the interest from there.

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