Assi Azar, an Israeli television personality and the host of Israel’s number one most watched TV show, is going on a nine campus tour thanks to CAMERA. Our goal is to teach students about the progressive nature of Israel and the LGBTQ community there.
His tour started on March 30th at our CAMERA supported group at Harvard University.
On March 31st Assi returned to Clark University, where he last spoke two years ago.
From there Assi’s tour with CAMERA takes him to:
1. April 7th- Cornell University:
2. April 8th- Ohio University at an event that will take place right after the annual Rainbow Seder:
3. April 9th at Ohio University. This event is not sponsored by CAMERA.
4. April 13th at Augsburg College:
5. April 14th at the University of Minnesota.
6. April 15th at UCLA.
7. April 16th at UC Santa Barbara.
Assi will be showing his film “Mom and Dad: I Have Something to Tell You” on some campuses and leading discussions about what it is like to be gay in Israel. While there is room for improvement, according to Assi, Israel is more progressive than the US in many ways in terms of LGBTQA rights.
For example at Clark University he talked about his military service in the 1990’s, when it was acceptable for soldiers to be openly gay, decades before it was legal in the US. Israeli celebrities can also more easily come out of the closet as opposed to the US.
Eight facts about the LGBTQ community in Israel:
1. Israel is the first and the only country in the Middle East and in all of Asia to recognize same sex marriage.
2. It is the most liberal country in the region. Only about 20 countries in the world right now either perform or recognize same sex marriage, Israel is one of them.
3. Israel is the only country in the Middle East with a pride parade. Tel Aviv’s Pride parade attracts over 100,000 people, and there are pride parades all over the country.
4. Many gay Palestinians illegally enter Israel to escape persecution in the Palestinian territories because of their secual orientation.
5. The IDF has allowed openly gay people to serve since 1993, decades before the US.
6. Tel Aviv earned the nickname “the gay capital of the Middle East” by Out magazine.
7. The Israeli film and music industry has produced several popular films with main characters who are gay. Dan International, who won the Eurovision contest for Israel in 1998, is transgendered.
8. Over half of Israelis support gay marriage.
This piece has been picked up by Out.com, the site of the highest circulated gay monthly publication in the United States.