Activists sharply criticize passage of Israel surrogacy bill

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: LGBTI rights advocates in Israel have sharply criticized the passage of a bill that prevents gay couples from using surrogates in the country. (Photo by Wayne McLean; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Activists have sharply criticized the passage of a bill in the Israeli Knesset that prevents gay couples from using surrogates.

The Jerusalem Post reported the bill passed on Wednesday by a 59-52 vote.

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Gays on strike in Israel over exclusion from surrogacy law

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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP)| Hundreds of Israeli LGBT advocates and their supporters are on strike, protesting the exclusion of gay men from a recently passed surrogacy law.

Protesters marched in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities on July 22, waving rainbow flags and briefly blocking a major highway.

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Over 250,000 people celebrate Gay Pride at Tel Aviv parade

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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Ripped men in white underwear, pink bunny ears and black bow ties gyrated through the streets of Tel Aviv along with drag queens and others to loud trance music for the annual Gay Pride Parade on Friday — the biggest event of its kind in the region and drawing people from around the world to party.

The Tel Aviv Municipality said 250,000 people celebrated June 8.

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Egypt court releases two people arrested for raising rainbow flag at concert

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: An Egyptian court has released two people who were arrested after they raised a rainbow flag at a concert in September. Photo by Ted Eytan; courtesy Flickr

An Egyptian court has released two people who raised a rainbow flag during a Cairo concert in September.

Egyptian Streets — which describes itself as an “independent, young and grassroots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets” — on Tuesday reported the Giza Criminal Court released Sarah Hejazy and Ahmed Alaa on $56.37 (1,000 Egyptian pounds) bail.

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Israeli military’s first transgender officer criticizes Trump

By : Michael K. Lavers OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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The first transgender officer in the Israel Defense Force has criticized President Trump’s decision to ban trans people from the U.S. military.

Capt. Shachar Erez in a commentary that A Wider Bridge, which describes itself as an “LGBTQ advocacy group building connections between the Israeli and North American LGBTQ communities,” posted on its website on July 27 wrote “barring transgender individuals from serving their country is not a policy based on credible professional opinion.”

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New group defends integrated Israel military

By : Michael K. Lavers of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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A new group seeks to counter growing opposition to LGBTQ and female soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.

Blue and White Pride describes itself as “a movement of Israelis, men and women, who serve in Israel’s security forces, both as conscripts and in the reserves, and want to maintain the IDF as a meeting point for Israeli society.” The group also seeks to strengthen “the values of the IDF and those serving” against the backdrop of “anti-liberal forces trying to stop” the integration of women, LGBTQ Israelis and other minorities into the military.

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Police say Israeli Pride Parade targeted by 2015 attacker

By : Wire Report
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Jerusalem (AP) — Israeli police say an extremist ultra-Orthodox Jewish man in prison for a deadly attack on last year’s annual Jerusalem gay pride march has plotted another attack on this year’s march.

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said July 21 that police thwarted the plot by Yishai Schlissel and arrested his brother, Michael, as an accomplice.

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Israeli Pride parade cancelled amid concerns of violence

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Jerusalem (AP) — Gay activists have canceled what was to be the first gay pride march in the Israeli city of Beersheba after Israel’s Supreme Court restricted the event’s route due to concerns of violence.

Organizers sought to march down a main thoroughfare in the city on July 14 but the court said police intelligence assessments indicated the possibility of violence. It said there could be life-threatening violence against participants, and also that participants could contribute to violence in an effort to defend themselves.

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Tel Aviv pride parade attracts 200,000

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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Colorfully-dressed drag queens and bare-chested muscular men on floats partied alongside thousands of others from the LGBT community at Tel Aviv’s annual gay pride parade on June 3, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East.

Israeli media reported that 200,000 people joined the festivities.

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Israel Day Parade faces Jewish anti-gay, anti-Israel protesters

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NEW YORK (AP) — Marchers in the Israel Day Parade up Fifth Avenue faced some dissonant spectators: Orthodox Jews who don’t believe Israel should exist.

Standing near them at the celebration May 31 were other Orthodox men heckling gay marchers while hoisting signs that read: “Judaism considers male homosexuality a sin worse than murder.”

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Israel OKs gay Jews to immigrate with spouses

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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel says it will now allow Jews to immigrate to Israel with their non-Jewish same-sex spouses.

In a directive publicized Aug. 12, Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Saar told immigration authorities not to differentiate between married gay and straight couples.

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