Watch: Jerusalem’s Drag Queens

The performers of Allah Nesh have found an unlikely home and a way to assert themselves in Israel’s conservative capital city

Yosale is putting on electric blue eyeliner in his family’s Jerusalem home. Noir Styrofoam is donning a black wig, the same color as his beard, while Moksha powders his face.

They are preparing for a show by Allah Nesh, the city’s lone troupe of drag queens. The group has made a place for itself despite some intolerance against the LGBT community from religious residents. They perform roughly twice a month at the only gay bar in Israel’s largest city.

Yosale, 23, manages the group and is the only founding member who still performs. He and some friends started the group about two and a half years ago, he said. Jerusalem, in Israel’s conservative capital city, had always had drag queens but the last remaining group relocated to Tel Aviv, he said.

“We said ok, we got to keep up with drag in Jerusalem, it’s always been here,” Yosale said. “And also we like to perform, let’s be honest here.”

Allah Nash found a natural home at the Videopub, where several of the other founding members were working. It is located on a side street about a 10-minute walk from the Old City walls.

All three are residents of the city. Yosale is a Jerusalem native, from a religious family, and spent a year in yeshiva. By day, he works as a cleaner.

“Some days you’re a queen, some days you clean,” he said.

He first became interested in drag after seeing the Israeli drag queen Gallina Port des Bras in Time Out magazine, and first performed at a lesbian bar in Tel Aviv about five years ago, when he was 17 or 18.

Continue reading in The Times of Israel