Tel Aviv: The US embassy in Tel Aviv has in a historic show of solidarity with LGBT Israelis flown the American national flag alongside the rainbow flag to mark gay pride week being celebrated in the Israeli capital.
“For the first time in history, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised the Pride flag together with our American flag,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro posted on Facebook. “We are proud to join with the municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo and its residents in celebrating LGBT Pride Week.”
However, there were some who did not appreciate this gesture of solidarity.
Facebook user Mary Moskowitz posted to Mr. Shapiros page saying, “Mr. Shapiro, I would like to know what gives you the right to speak for all Americans and hoist a “gay pride” flag along with the American flag?”
According to Moskowitz this is a “blatant violation” of the ambassador’s position in Israel.
“I am not proud of this and I am sure there are many in the United States and Israel who feel as I do,” she said.
The US ambassador’s gesture was in keeping with US President Barack Obama’ support for the LGBT community.
Obama recently officially promulgated June as LGBT Pride Month and also pledged his administration to standing alongside all those who fight for LGBT rights and take action to prevent bullying, harassment and prohibiting discrimination of gay and transgender men and women,
The Tel Aviv Pride Week – which began June 8 and runs until June 14 and is a major tradition in Israel’s Mediterranean city.
Rainbow flags adorn the street lamps on many of Tel Aviv’s major thoroughfares. Every evening, the city’s iconic Rabin Square is bathed in rainbow light.
The week culminates in an enormous parade that will march from Gan Meir to the beach by Charles Clore Park, where revelers will celebrate until sunset.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry estimates that 30,000 tourists will have came to participate in the festivities.
Tel Aviv has been voted the Best Gay City in the world by American Airlines and GayCities.