Israel is the only country in the Middle East for gay and lesbian individuals to live in and travel to safely without fear of persecution. The gay community is very large and very open (more so in the big cities) It is also interesting to note that gay people can serve openly in the Israeli military and they enjoy many of the rights the state has to give. Social equality is a very important issue for the Israeli government and it has been a key objective for many years to drive this through for its citizens and visitors alike.
Gay Couples may get married abroad and such partnerships are recognised in Israel, as are gay adoptions which are also then recognised in Israel, both parents are given equal rights in such cases.
Whilst some smaller towns and religious communities may be a little more restrictive, some issues can be complex in a nation where religion plays a large role. However, when you focus your stay on the larger cities that offer the facilities you are searching for, you will find everything you need and then some to ensure you have the perfect vagaytion!
Tel Aviv is the epicentre of gay life in Israel. This cosmopolitan city boasts the same vibrancy of New York or other major cities and is synonymous in being known as the city that never sleep. It is a 'round the clock' city bursting with energy day and night. You'll see the many rainbow coloured flags dotted around, the annual gay parade is one of the largest in the world and there is a plethora of gay and gay friendly establishments from which to choose. It truly is the LGBT go to destination of the Middle East.
the cities of Haifa, Jerusalem and Eilat all have smaller gay communities, but are still very much present and offer fair to good facilities for gay travellers. Haifa is the jewel in the north, here you'll find a few cosy by comparison bars, a well facilitated Beach (no gay area though) and an open minded attitude. Haifa is worth the visit for sure and opens up the gateway to the north of the country where you can go on to visit the Golani, Akko and Rosh Hanikra. Jerusalem is surprisingly open and offers numerous clubs and bars as well as an annual pride! Needless to say one should respect the religious quarters. Then there is the resort city of Eilat in the deep south of the country. Eilat offers a very gay friendly environment although until the new airport starts offering more international flights, at the moment much of the tourism and in particular gay action revolves around Israeli tourists and not so much on an international level.
In 2018 Israel appointed its very first openly gay major general. In a promotional ceremony attended by several top MKs, the hope is that this will allay fears within the gay community about enlisting in the military.
In 2014 a monument dedicated to the gay men and women who perished during the holocaust was erected in Tel Aviv. The monument in the form of a pink triangle bears inscriptions in Hebrew, German and English.
Annual gay pride marches and other gay themed events take place not only in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem but all over Israel including: Haifa, Eilat and Peta Tikvah.
Dana International was the first openly transexual star to win the Eurovision Song Contest.
The very first gay pride event took place in Tel Aviv in 1998.
Gay, Lesbian & Transgender people from all over the Middle East often often seek refuge in Israel due to its tolerance, acceptance and equality laws in many areas of gay life.
No one can ever say that Tel Aviv fails to deliver when it comes to everything ’n anything gay. This is partly due to the fact that not only does Tel Aviv boast an impressive gay beach, year round sunshine and a plethora of handsome men, It is also a party scene that changes from weekly with themed nights, one off parties & pop up events that are great for keeping things fresh and exciting. This is one of the reasons Tel Aviv can boast its place as one of the leading gay destinations in the world. Gay hotels, gay eateries and several gay apps, not to mention perhaps one of the most notable pride events EVER anywhere in the world. Basically it all equates to the same point, no matter what you’re in search of, this city will deliver it!
Don't be too shocked to hear that Jerusalem is very much a city that caters for everyone, not just for the religious visitors. Yes of course the emphasis is on religion and it is by comparison a much more conservative destination than others, particularly in certain quarters. However, don't be fooled. There is an annual pride parade attracting thousands of visitors and getting stronger by the year and a handful of clubs and bars that will keep you occupied during your stay. The LGBT community are very active in raising awareness to the issues around gay rights and issues affecting the gay community so there is always something being organised. Needless to say It is also a must visit destination regardless if visiting Israel.
Eilat is to Israel what Mykonos is to Greece or Miami is to the USA. Israel's stunning tropical oasis in the south embraces the warm waters of the Red Sea with a range of lovely hotels and superb facilities for the ultimate in vacationing. Needless to say with a scorching heat, atmospheric bars, great water sports and quality diving, it stands to reason Eilat would attract large numbers of gay visitors. However as facilities tend to be seasonal (especially between June-July) the best bet would be to check out your Grindr app not only for hook ups but also to find out whats on and where.
To many, Haifa is known as the Jewel in Israel's crown. It is a major port city and so besides cruising you'll be pleased to hear that Haifa has a small, sweet but beefy selection of venues for the gay traveller. Haifa is also known as the City of social cohesion where Arabs and Druze also live in harmony so don't be too surprised to see mixed gay couples. Haifa also hosts its own annual pride event which in 2017 along attracted over 2,000 participants, It is also a great base from which to discover the verdant north of the country from Akko to Rosh Hanikra to the rolling hills of the Golani.
The Hilton Beach is aptly named as it is just a stones throw from the Hilton Hotel. Here, you'll find a chilled atmosphere with toned tanned bodies relaxing in the afternoon sun. Its not officially a gay beach but has gradually become 'mostly' gay over time.
This is a state of the art sauna club in the heart of Tel Aviv with a range of exciting facilities from impressive sauna and relaxation areas to large dance floor. Sauna Tel Aviv also hold weekly themed nights. Official Website
Apolo is an exclusively gay bar that opened in 2011. It is perfectly located in the center of Tel Aviv on Allenby Street. The club is inspired by some of the hottest clubs in Europe. Official Website
The Pink House group established an apart-hotel for singles, couples OR friends. Gay owned and operated, Pink House is proud to make their guests feel at home in both of their options perfectly located in the Yemmenite. quarter. Official Website
The challenges faced between a soldier and his Commanding Officer set against the backdrop of conflict from award winning director Eytan Fox.
A Mossad agent is appointed to track and kill an ex-Nazi officer thought to still be alive. Befriending the Nazi's grandson, he starts to questions values.
Eytan Foxs' 'The Bubble' follows a group of young friends living in Tel Aviv. Their daily life is disrupted with the arrival of Palestinian man.
Award winning director Eytan Fox brings us Yossi, a romantic drama about the love between two Israeli soldiers. A sequel to Yossi & Jaeger.
A Wider Bridge is the North American organization working through education, advocacy, relationship-building and grant-making to create equality in Israel by expanding LGBTQ inclusion in Israel, and equality for Israel by cultivating constructive engagement with Israel. For more information on A Wider Bridge CLICK HERE
The Israeli LGBTQ+ Youth Organization (IGY) is the largest LGBTQ+ organization in Israel. Working for social change towards a more equal & tolerant society & works directly with & for LGBTQ+ youth (13-23) in the stages of formulating their sexual and/or gender identity through regular weekly social-educational activities. CLICK HERE