An estimated 180,000 people marched in Tel Aviv’s annual gay pride parade on Friday, June 12. Ahead of the parade, on June 10, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated members of Israel’s gay and lesbian community. “As Pride Week unfurls, I would like to send my congratulations to the LGBT community,” Netanyahu wrote in Hebrew on Twitter. “The fight for recognition for every person as equal before the law is a long one and there is plenty of progress to be made. I am proud of how Israel is one of the world’s most open-minded countries in its treatment of the proud community and that its discourse is becoming each year more respectful and accepting.”
The Israel Defense Forces also noted marked Pride Week on its official website with an article featuring an interview with a transgender lieutenant who was a woman when enlisting in the IDF. The lieutenant, identified only by his first name, Shachar, recalled how he received special permission to wear a men’s uniform while serving in the IDF as a woman, after he explained his gender identity issues to his commanding officers.