Gay Israel: Documentary “Undressing Israel” – Gay Men in the Promised Land
Israel, which is the spiritual home of Judaism, would be expected to be most rigorous in implementing the religious laws to the last letter. One would expect similar attitudes to prevail in the spiritual homes of the other main mono-theistic religions, Islam (Saudi Arabia) and Christianity (the Vatican). No surprises there.
Yet Israel seems to be different very LGBTQ friendly and a true oasis in the desert.
Here is the trailer of a documentary I saw.
It is called: Undressing Israel – Gay Men in the Promised Land
And this is another view on the same subject
It is called: Israel: Gay Oasis
It is heartening to note:
- Tel Aviv has a thriving night life and rivals better known destinations
- The city’s annual Pride celebrations are funded by the city, and there is less commercialisation
- Gay characters have started gaining prominence in the media
- Surrogacy, marriage equality, easier adoption rules serve to create a more realistic and family friendly atmosphere
- In fact, they showed a gay couple get married, one born in Morocco, one in Russia. It is doubtful if such a scene could have unfolded in either of these countries, which are currently extremely homophobic.
- The twin city of Jaffa, which is more Arabic, seems to have a more homophobic culture.
- No discussion about how LGBTQ are accepted (or not) in the communities outside Tel Aviv.
- No discussion of issues faced by others in the community such as lesbians, transgenders and issues like poverty, housing, employment and so on.
- The military in Israel was where the first chinks appeared – wonder what happens to gays in a pacifist environment?
- There was a hate crime-bombing of Tel Aviv’s Gay Centre in 2009 when two persons were killed and dozens injured. Nobody in the movie seemed to know of this incident.
Many religious issues continue to dog the faithful. There is this person – Rabbi Ron Yosef – who has come out as gay to his congregation, in a small centre, far away from “wicked” Tel Aviv. He is unique – because he is!
Here is his story:
(This story was shot in October 2009. It focuses on Ron Yosef, an orthodox Rabbi living in the Israeli city of Netanya, who has come out of the closet and shaken his conservative community).
He has set up a non-profit agency for Religious Gays.
“ … to initiate a public dialogue in the religious community, among its leaders, its rabbis, encompassing both the Halakhic and social scopes, in order to obtain recognition of religious gay men as a part of the religious community which cannot be neglected anymore. A dialogue that would lead to an improvement of the social situation of the religious homosexual man, within the religious society.
And since a picture speaks a thousand words, here are some Tel Aviv gay men unwinding.