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How immigrants pioneered Israel’s LGBTQ acceptance

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Published: 28 December 2020

Last updated: 4 March 2024

For 45 years, olim have led the way via the Agudah, the Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel

ON NOVEMBER 14, 1975, more than 10 years before homosexuality became legal in the State of Israel, a small ad appeared in the personal ad section of The Jerusalem Post reading, “If you are interested in chaniging (sic) the legal status of Homosexuals, in Israel, contact: S.I.R. (Society for Individual Rights).”

The ad marked the first publication of what is now known as The Agudah – The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel. The association was founded during a meeting of gay men and one woman, including new immigrants and Holocaust survivors, in 1975 in Tel Aviv.

Jonathan Danilowitz, an oleh from South Africa who served as chairman of the Agudah from 1985 to 1986, had his first encounter with the association in 1975 with that ad in the Post.

“I didn’t think, or I wasn’t willing to admit to myself, that I was gay, but the wording of the ad was okay for me because it said if you want to ‘help’ homosexuals, so for me it was like helping ‘them’ and not myself,” said Danilowitz.

FULL STORY How immigrants paved the way for Israel's LGBTQ+ acceptance (Jerusalem Post)

Photo: Gay protest in Tel Aviv, 1979 (The Agudah, the association for LGBTQ equality in Israel)

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