Men and women in colorful, sometimes eccentric outfits, took part in the overwhelming heat in this Pride March, dancing on and around floats that roamed the streets of Tel Aviv, a city considered a rare oasis of tolerance in the region, noted AFP journalists.

“It’s supposed to be a fight for LGBT rights but it’s more like a party, so I’m enjoying the party,” Liat Shana, 29, with hair covered in a green wig, told AFP.

“It’s important to show that there are a lot of people who want the gay community to have rights and that we are equal,” said Aviv Gal, 28, an educator.

Tel Aviv, where the first Pride March dates back to 1998, “has always been and always will be a welcoming home for all trans, lesbian, gay, queer and non-binary people. Here they will always count, here they will always be the welcome,” Mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement.

Israel is recognized as a progressive country in terms of visibility and equality for the LGBT community. Homosexual marriage, without being illegal, is impossible for lack of an institution authorized to pronounce it, but the union between persons of the same sex is recognized if it has been contracted abroad.

The Israeli authorities gladly promote events like this to promote the image of a country that respects differences and to promote tourism.

Part of the LGBT community, however, accuses Israel of instrumentalizing its cause, denouncing a company of “pinkwashing” – misuse of the English “whitewashing”, laundering – which would consist in concealing under a progressive image the realities of the country, including the israelo-Palestinian conflict.

Thursday, June 2, thousands of people took part in the 20th edition of the Pride March in Jerusalem, under heavy police surveillance following threats against the organizers. In 2015, she was bereaved by the death of a teenager, stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox Jew.