Tel Aviv Pride Parade returns after last year’s COVID cancellation

Pride parade attendees dance on a platform along the beach in Tel Aviv
Pride parade attendees dance on a platform along the beach on Friday in Tel Aviv. Israel reopened this spring from its coronavirus lockdown after one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)
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Dozens of rainbow and Israeli flags billowed in the hot breeze on Friday as tens of thousands of people came to revel and celebrate Tel Aviv’s gay pride parade.

The parade, a vibrant display of acceptance, was one of the largest public events in Israel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual celebration is considered the biggest LGBTQ event in the conservative Middle East and is held in Israel’s rare hub of gay culture.

Although there were concerns over a recent surge in coronavirus cases, linked to the Delta variant, the seaside gathering held on the coastal promenade drew an estimated 100,000 people, according to local news reports.

The country’s rapid vaccination drive allowed the Tel Aviv Pride Parade to return after being canceled last year due to concerns about spreading the virus.

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Israeli authorities, who fully reopened the country this spring, are once again requiring people to wear masks in indoor public places, and are advising masks at large outdoor events. Fewer than half of attendees wore face coverings.

A large group of men and women sit on a grassy area
Pride attendees socialize after the parade along the beach on Friday in Tel Aviv. The city features a rare hub of gay culture in Israel.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)
Or Habusha poses for a portrait.
Or Habusha, a model and photographer, stands for a portrait during the Tel Aviv Pride Parade.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)
Two woman dance near the beach.
Shoval Tal, left, and Dayla Wondemagen dance along the beach.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)
A woman paints her face near the beach.
Tel Aviv Pride Parade attendee Daniella Alpert paints makeup on her face.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)
An older woman in a hat and dress watches others dance.
A woman attending the parade watches dancers.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)

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A Pride-themed Israeli flag
A Pride-themed Israeli flag is raised above the crowd.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)
A woman in sunglasses and orange dress poses for a photo
Chani Choina, 23, a former New Yorker, poses for a portrait.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)
A woman with platform shoes and rainbow hair and pants stands near the beach
“Pride means that I am finally safe,” said Noam Tzirun, 17. “I am more myself.” Tzirun, who is from nearby Ramat Hasharon, is pansexual.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)
A woman is seen between two rainbow-colored fans.
Lexi Biku, center, dances with friends.
(Jacob Moscovitch / Los Angeles Times)