Thursday’s event is the first pride event ever to include a speech by an Arab MK. ‘We cannot demand respect while disparaging the other. It is impossible to fight for my equality and not for that of others,’ MK Issawi Frej told the crowd.
Over 150 members of the LGBTQ community and their supporters took part in a joint Jewish-Arab pride event in the mixed city of Lod on Thursday. The event, the first of its kind in Israel, took place outside city hall, and follows a mass protest by LGBTQ Israelis earlier this week for equality and against discrimination.
“There are those who say the city is not ready for this, but how will it be ready if we don’t hold pride events?” asked Natalie Kirstein, a resident of Lod and an activist with the left-wing Meretz party, one of the main organizers of the event. “Last year there was controversy, this time we didn’t have any, and we received help from the municipality and the police.”
Although Kirstein and the other organizers had hoped for a turnout of 800 people, she still hailed the event as “historic.” Hen Arieli, the Executive Director of the Aguda, the Israeli LGBTQ community’s umbrella organization, and Adam Zulud, an Arab rapper and resident of the city, also spoke about what they viewed as a historic evening. “If you would have told me a few years ago that Lod would host a pride event, it would have seemed illogical to me. This is an amazing thing,” said Zulud moments before he stepped onstage to perform. “Lod will bring the gospel: a Jewish-Arab event that says we are all fighting for our lives here,” Arieli told the crowd.
It was also the first time an Arab member of Knesset spoke at a pride event. “I am proud of you and our friendship,” Meretz MK Issawi Frej told the crowd. “You have the same right as anyone else to live where you want and how you want. We believe that the human being is at the center, and this means a human being regardless of sex or color — we are equal. I am here to identify with you.”Read More