Two Israeli gay men and their three daughters (either through adoption or surrogacy) were initially denied entry as a “family” to a popular Israeli national park at the weekend.
The couple has a family membership to Israel’s national parks, which they have used without problem for the past seven years. But this last weekend, when they presented it at the entrance to the Yehudiya Nature Reserve in the northern Galilee, the clerk informed them: “You are not a family.”
The man was initially confused by the response, so the clerk clarified: “To me this is not a family.”
A manager arrived a few minutes later and allowed the two men and the three young girls to enter, and the Parks Authority issued a public apology over the incident, calling it “isolated.”
But it highlights one of the many sharp divides in Israeli society.
Israel is celebrated by many as one of the most gay-friendly places in the world. The city of Tel Aviv is seen in particular as a haven and popular travel destination for the LGBT community.
At the same time, there is a fierce backlash against this trend as more and more Israelis move toward religious conservatism.
Notably, just before Corona shut the country down, the LGBT movement planned its largest ever “Gay Pride” parade in Jerusalem. In response, residents launched an advertising campaign including posters that read: “Father + Mother = Family. Have the courage to be normal.” The same slogan was used as several subsequent demonstrations around the country.
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