The northern city of Haifa held its 11th annual Gay Pride Parade on Friday morning, with some 5,000 people revelers attending the event.
The theme this year was “We are Haifa,” and was the culmination of a week of events organized by the local LGBTQ community. Roads were closed as marchers paraded from Carmelia Junction to the city’s well-known Gan Ha’em park where entertainment and celebrations continued.
An increased police force lined the road, but there were no reports of disturbances as the crowds, including floats carrying dancers and music, paraded along the route.
Organizers said the goal of the march was “to reflect the uniqueness of the gay community in a city that includes members of different communities, religions and cultures.”
בואו לצעוד אתנו במצעד החיפאי. בואו להניף אתנו דגל בואו לתמוך בחברות וחברים שלכם/ן מהקהילהבואו לחזק את הקהילות שלא יכולות להשמיע את קולןבואו ביחד להפגין אתנו סולידריות ולהשתתף בחגיגה קהילתית גדולה.תודה ליוזמת הסרטון, צלמת ומפיקה Anat Salomon ולכל משתתפי הסרטון Yarin Azulay, Liav Kovalchok Yarden Naveh, Arnon Allouche, Gil Weinstein, Joy Korech Or, Eyal Friedlander, Adi Sadaka, Meital Dank, Gili Levilev, Amit Haya Fidel, Ekaterina Rubinshtein, Keren Avraham, Niv Perelstein, Liav Joseph Vansower, Michal Maroz, Yosi Shalom, Shira Bernstein, Uri Linskill, Rivi Efrat, לדף האירוע :https://www.facebook.com/events/1148509561919642
Posted by מצעד הגאווה בחיפה / Haifa Pride Parade on Wednesday, 21 June 2017
MK Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing Meretz party attended the parade, and posted a photo on Twitter simply captioned, “Haifa pride.”
חיפה גאה pic.twitter.com/jacELJwJ9Z
— tamar zandberg (@tamarzandberg) June 30, 2017
People from a wide range of backgrounds also attended, including Arab-Israelis, members of the Ethiopian community and immigrants from the former Soviet Union.
Yonatan Books, who was left wheelchair-bound after a 2009 shooting attack at a gay youth club in Tel Aviv, known as the Bar Noar attack, attended the parade. He told Walla news that it was “very nice, everyone is happy.” Two people were killed in the shooting and almost a dozen were injured. The shooter has yet to be apprehended.
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav said on Thursday that “the Pride Parade in Haifa is a demonstration of joy, in which we celebrate our shared existence and the importance as a society to accept each other in Haifa’s spirit of tolerance.”
Yossi Shalom, who holds the gay community portfolio in the municipality, said, “The Gay Pride Parade in Haifa is a demonstration of solidarity that unifies religious and secular Jews and Arabs, new immigrants and veterans.”
Last year, some 4,000 people attended the Pride Parade at which Yahav was assaulted by an environmental activist over pollution concerns in the city. The attack occurred when he was giving a speech before the crowd.
Last week, some 3,500 people attended the first-ever Gay Pride parade in the southern city of Beersheba.
Two ultra-Orthodox men were arrested nearby. One was found armed with a knife in the vicinity of the parade and the second had attempted to forcibly enter the procession.
According to the Walla news website, the two were later released.
Earlier this month over 200,000 people attended Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride Parade, including an estimated 30,000 people who came from abroad to take part.
Two years ago, Jerusalem teen Shira Banki was killed and five people were injured by a Jewish religious extremist armed with a knife at a pride parade in central Jerusalem.