CAMERA Fellows and CCAP group leaders wrap up Fall Semester 2013 with a number of successful events. Take a look below to learn about EMET Israel’s event celebrating Gay Life in Israel at the University of Miami.
EMET Israel, a CCAP group at the University of Miami spearheaded by Rebecca Lebwohl, held a program on November 14 entitled “Gay Life in Israel.” The goal of the program was to reach out to the LGBTQ community on campus, and to interest them in and engage them with Israel. Rebecca expresses that “by finding common ground with the LGBTQ community, we would like to build a relationship and cooperate on this and future events and programs.” Rebecca added that EMET was indeed “able to make the LGBTQ community aware of the positive environment towards LGBTQ in Israel.”
Israel has a lot to be proud of when it comes to LGBTQ rights in the country. Indeed, Israel is by far the most gay-friendly country in all of Asia and the Middle East, and Tel Aviv is often cited as one of the most gay-friendly cities of the world. Out Magazine has nicknamed Tel Aviv “the gay capital of the Middle East,” and Tel Aviv is famous for its gay beaches and gay pride parades. Israel is the only country in Asia to recognize same-sex marriage contracts (Israel doesn’t offer civil marriage contracts on its soil both for homosexual and heterosexual couples, so gay couples would need to get married outside of Israel, and then return to Israel as a married couple). Same sex couples can easily adopt jointly, living together, enjoy the legal benefits of being a couple, and express themselves freely in public. Gays and lesbians can serve openly in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) without having to hide parts of their identity.
Rebecca says that several speakers were invited to share their stories at the event; they were easy to relate to and were very engaging. Some 70 people attended the event, most of whom were part of the LGBTQ community. The event was truly a success in that EMET received positive feedback from members of the LGBTQ community at the University of Miami, and there are discussions of future partnership and collaboration.