About 300 people are taking part in Friday's first-ever Pride Parade in the southern town of Mitzpeh Ramon, despite stark opposition to the event by the town's mayor earlier this week.
"I've waited for this moment a long time, and finally a [Pride] Parade is being held in my town," said local resident Hagit Peled as participants gathered at the local shopping center ahead of the march.
The parade is being held against the backdrop of a controversial letter by Mitzpeh Ramon Mayor Roni Marom issued on Monday.
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Marom laid out his thoughts on the LGBTQ community, arguing that LGBTQ activists have a "secret agenda" they are advancing by ways of politics, academia and public relations.
He also asserted the overt goal of the LGBTQ movement is for there to be widespread acceptance and recognition of same-sex attraction and sexual orientation and the achievement of equal rights for all, but the hidden agenda entails “plans to destroy social solidarity by challenging the three unifying elements of human society – religion, nation and family.”
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Udi Avital, a local doctor and member of the LGBTQ community, spoke at the march and said that it is not a political event. "As long as I am here, this isn't a war-like event, this is a celebration of love which marks unity," Avital said.
Another Mitzpeh Ramon resident said: "I support them and everything that they want. Only the religious get to do what they please? I'm not against anybody, and I won't let any community here hurt another community."