Thousands of people took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Thursday evening, July 20, to protest the far-right government’s opposition, declared earlier in the week, to same-sex couples adopting children in Israel, giving preference to heterosexual ones.
Some 10,000 attended the protest in central Tel Aviv, across from the government complex near the Azrieli towers, according to estimates by the rally’s organizers. At least nine people were arrested as demonstrators blocked Kaplan Street.
The protestors held signs reading “We are not second class citizens,” and “Bibi go home.” Well know singer Harel Skaat, who is gay and is said to be going through adoption troubles himself, said that it was “very touching” to see everyone coming together for the cause. In a Facebook post on Monday, Skaat lashed out at Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) and “other cowardly politicians like you. You do not deserve us. If only the many tens of thousands of people who attended the last gay pride day events in Tel Aviv, so that you could glorify yourselves before the enlightened world with your false acceptance, would become an alternative force and toss you out already! There is a new, generation here that won’t bear that hypocrisy much longer.”
Chen Arieli, chairwoman of the Israel’s National LGBT Task Force, said in an address that the protest was held to “tell the prime minister, the ministers and Knesset members: we are not here just so you can tell the world what an enlightened country we are and so that 30,000 tourists have something to do in June,” in reference to the annual Tel Aviv Pride Parade which draws tens of thousands of tourists every year.
Among the demonstrators, MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List) who said to journalists “In Israel in 2017, we will not let homophobia be. So many children are looking for a warm and loving home, and they are finding one in spite of the far right and ignorant government. This government must go, because of this issue and many other important matters, like the continuing occupation, racism and its anti-social, neo-liberal economic policy.”