Tel Aviv celebrates gay pride
Tel Aviv celebrates gay pride
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Tens of thousands of people are expected to take part on Friday in Tel Aviv's 14th Gay Pride Parade, which will kick off from Gan Meir park, rounding up a week of gay pride events.

Traffic is expected to be gridlocked as several city thoroughfares will be closed to traffic from 7 A.M. to 4 P.M.

Thousands of tourists have come to Israel to join the parade, organizers said.

The carnival will begin at Gan Meir at 10 A.M. with performances and speeches. Scheduled speakers include U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor ), MKs Zehava Galon and Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz ) and Tel Aviv council member Yael Dayan.

At 11 A.M. the municipality will paint a pedestrian crossing at the corner of Bograshov and Shalom Aleichem in the rainbow colors of the gay pride flag. The parade, to be led by floats carrying dancers and drag queens, is slated to move out from Gan Meir at 1 P.M. It will pass through the usual route along Tchernichovsky, Bograshov, Ben Yehuda, Arlozorov and Hayarkon streets, culminating at Gordon Beach with a huge party in the scorching sun.

An American Airlines survey published in the Gay Cities website hailed Tel Aviv as the best gay tourism city in the world. The survey reflects the warm welcome gay tourists receive in Tel Aviv, said Adir Steiner, coordinator of gay pride events for the Tel Aviv Municipality.