Updated: Jul 6
In the vibrant tapestry of Israeli society, the month of Pride shines a light on the LGBTQ+ community, bringing with it various events and initiatives across the country. Dror Israel, as part of its deep commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, plays a significant role in fostering connections and creating Pride events even in places where it may not be expected. Their vision of a more equal society extends to the youth in the HaNoar HaOved movement, who actively participate in Pride events across the country. Most LGBTQ+ programming and community events take place in large city centers like Tel Aviv, so as part of its ongoing work to build a more inclusive society, Dror Israel has created programs and community spaces LGBTQ+ youth and young adults living and working in smaller cities like Akko, Tiberias, and Mitzpe Ramon.
One remarkable example of Dror Israel's dedication was witnessed during the Pride Parade in Haifa, where Noy, a 25-year-old coordinator at the HaNoar HaOved youth movement branch in Bat Galim and a part of Dror Israel’s educators' community in the city, had the privilege of marching alongside enthusiastic participants from her teen group. Together, they created colorful stickers adorned with meaningful slogans that resonated not only with their peers but also with diverse individuals attending the parade. Noy shared her experience, stating, "Being there as representatives of our youth movement and participating in the Pride Parade is one of the ways we show that there is a place for everyone, just as we say about every branch or group within the youth movement. It is about affirming together that we shouldn’t be afraid of our differences and that it is important and possible to embrace those differences and come together in the fight for equality within our society."
The efforts of Dror Israel and HaNoar HaOved extend far beyond urban centers. One such instance can be found in the city of Rehovot, where Dror Israel's educators lead the local LGBTQ+ collective known as "Queer Ba'ir" (Queer in the City). This initiative is part of city’s wider community network and brings together local members of the LGBTQ+ community for a range of different intiatives. Alon Oppenheimer, from Dror Israel educators' kibbutz in Rehovot and an LGBTQ+ community leader in the city, shared his excitement about the upcoming Pride Parade: "Tomorrow, the sixth annual Pride Parade will take place in Rehovot, led by activists from organizations working within the city, including 'Queer Ba'ir.' Last September, I assumed the role of LGBTQ+ community leader in Rehovot after spending a year as part of the leadership team at 'Queer Ba'ir' with my fellow Dror Israel educator, Rotem Barak. Over the past year, we have been actively promoting the LGBTQ+ community in Rehovot, strengthening the visibility of community members, instilling a sense of security, and fostering a feeling of belonging through training for municipal employees, cultural events, and the establishment of an urban LGBTQ+ center."
Amidst pushback from some groups, Dror Israel educators and other members of the local community also organized a Pride Parade in Mitzpe Ramon. Signs hung around the southern town protested the march, asking "Why are you bringing Tel Aviv here?" However, the organizers responded by emphasizing that the LGBTQ+ community is present in Mitzpe Ramon as well and deserves to feel safe and proud, no matter where they live. This event served as a powerful demonstration that the LGBTQ+ community is not limited to major cities, and the need for acceptance and celebration reaches every corner of Israel.
Dror Israel and its associated youth movement, HaNoar HaOved, embody the spirit of inclusivity and equal rights, advocating for LGBTQ+ youth throughout Israel. Their commitment to creating LGBTQ+ community spaces and initiatives extends beyond the major cities, reaching into the hearts of smaller communities. By participating in Pride events and spearheading community initiatives, Dror Israel and HaNoar HaOved send a resounding message: that everyone deserves a place, and together, we can create a more accepting and equal society. Their efforts are instrumental in shaping a brighter future, empowering LGBTQ+ youth, and fostering solidarity across Israel.