Thousands of people gathered in Jerusalem for the city's 10th annual Gay Pride parade held amid heavy security after a history of attacks on LGBT members and supporters left parade-goers concerned for their safety.
Omer, a parade goer, told Jewish News One, "We are here for the Jerusalem Gay Parade, in my opinion the most important parade of the year in Israel. It's a place where we didn't win yet, and we come from love, we just want people to accept us. To understand that we have the right to love."
Much of the hostility towards Israel's gay community has come from ultra-Orthodox Jews. Throughout the parade, a small group of ultra-Orthodox Jews held a counter-demonstration in one of the religious neighborhoods.
In 2005, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man stabbed and wounded participants in the gay march, and in 2006, widespread rioting led to a temporary suspension until 2008 of pride parades in the city.
Jerusalem's conservative culture is in sharp contrast to Tel Aviv, which was declared the number 1 gay tourist destination of 2011. This comes after concerted efforts on the part of Israeli authorities to promote Israel as an island of tolerance in the largely Islamic Middle East.