The top 6 LGBTQ friendly spas in Israel
Fall into a deep state of relaxation by the hands of a massage therapist, or just decompress switching between the sauna and the steam room every 10 minutes, with cocktail breaks of course.
The Gay-Friendliest Cities in Israel
Gay Israel is actually a lot more popular than one would think given we are in the Middle East, after all. So, how is being a gay traveler or a LGBTQ citizen in a tiny village by the Lebanese border? And where’s the queer scene in Haifa? We've applied an imaginary gaydar-gadget to travel around Israel so you can discover all the secrets about gay society in the middle of this tiny, yet worldly, hotbed of action.
The Wild, Wild Web
It might be hard to find Gay Tel Aviv’s hottest spot since the White City doesn’t have a specific gay area but, the entirety of the city is absolutely gay-friendly. Check out these popular LGBTQ sites regularly and you'll be sure to know where the latest party is – and who to go with.
Freak Flag: Israel's secret & sordid gay spots
While Tel Aviv prides itself on having a very visible and inclusive gay scene, that doesn’t mean there aren’t also darker, more secret spots where guys go under the radar to get their freak on – all across the country.
5 places to let your hair down and just dance to the best Eurotrash hits
In a global party that’s changing with the wind Tel Aviv keeps on being a 'safe place” for those hopelessly devoted to trashy pop music – yes, we have 80s-90s-2000s parties nearly every week somewhere, yes we still do karaoke, and no, we are not ashamed of it.
Where to party (almost) for free in the LGBTQ scene
Some might say Tel Aviv is one pricey place to holiday, but once you’ve got your groove – armed with an arsenal of in-the-know hotspots – you’ll be set for a night out , where you save your shek!
Homegrown Diva: Time Out Interview with Shefita
The controversial – and hilarious – singer and persona talks Radiohead, what’s in her purse, and her love for the haters Rotem Shefy is a delicate mix of Yemenite and European Jewish ancestors , but her stage persona – Shefita – was born in Dubai. Some have called her out for mocking Arab culture, while others praise her for paying tribute to her roots, but one things is for sure: everyone knows about her, and everyone has an opinion. Here, she lets us into her crazy-fun world of giving her signature spin to rock songs by the likes of Nirvana, Aerosmith, and a whole lot more. Tell me a bit about how the Shefita personality was born – you clearly have an incredible musical talent, and acting skills, but how did you bring together the Arabic accent and covering famous rock songs? I was born with this accent, but grew up listening to rock music, so for me it just feels so natural to sing and perform like this. Dubai is a big part of me, even though I haven’t lived there for many years. What does it mean for you as an artist and as a person – even as a child growing up in Israel – to be put in the box of “not being Arab enough” for some, while for others you’re way “too Levantine”? People are just looking for a reason to be offended. My act brings the real Shefita in the most oriental way: I’m putting the spotlight on Arab and Western music, giving the lyrics a new meaning, empowering women, having a good laugh about everything, and mostly enjoying myself. You have a histor
United colors: 5 local centers and organizations for the queer community
We know that together we are stronger – and we have more fun. Here we’ve compiled a list of local centers and organizations where Israeli and international queers can build a peaceful revolution for a more accepting society, while also feeling the warm support and love of a much needed greater family. The Gay Center © PR The ever-busy LGBTQ Center of Tel Aviv is not the result of a new trend of “pinking up” the White City: it was founded back in 1983 to fortify and enrich the LGBT community. “Today, more than 6,000 people pass through our doors every week, and we are solidly committed to serving each and every member of our diverse community,” they say. The Center offers a wide range of activities from theater shows and drama workshops to round table talks and group therapy sessions. Their mission: “For as many ways as you can define family, we are here to support. From relationships to parenthood, we guide and connect you throughout your journey.” For questions about membership contact: email@example.com, or visit gaycenter.org A Wider Bridge Tel Aviv © Shutterstock This community based start up focuses on bringing American LGBTQ people into meaningful and thoughtful connection with Israel and LGBTQ Israelis. “Our programs create opportunities for education, engagement and experience, and include travel, speakers and discussions, cultural events, online resources, advocacy and philanthropy,” they state. A Wider Bridge brings Israeli LGBTQ leaders, activ
Organizations across Israel that support feminist LGBTQ awareness
God is Love Bat Kol is an organization for religious lesbians that was founded back in 2005 – mostly by women who wished not give up religion or their sexual identity. Once a home for struggling ladies, it is now a growing community that champions the same values: making it possible for women to live in loving relationships, raise children, and stay close to the traditions of Judaism. Orthodox rabbis, respected professors and important community members all support Bat Kol, and believe that education for tolerance and acceptance is the main tool for creating a bridge between spirituality and sexual orientation. (www.bat-kol.org/english) Proud and Palestinian ASWAT is the sole group of openly lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning and queer Palestinian women – an organization founded in 2002 by women who believe that a safe, supportive and empowering space is a must for all who struggle with identity issues, discrimination, or hatred. Social and political questions and answers are put on the table. As a minority living in Israel, as women in a patriarchal society, and as LBTQI women in a wider hetero-normative culture, there is a lot that connects these special women. Their goal? Working towards promoting women's leadership and building an LBTQI community that will further encourage the inclusion of people of any gender, race, religion or color in our society. (www.aswatgroup.org) Learn from the Ladies "Hoshen" – a Hebrew acronym meaning “education and c
The play Edgar at the Na Laga’at Center is a one-of-a-kind experience
Na laga'at (please touch in English) is the name of a unique theater in Old Jaffa's port that promotes beauty and understanding. It has long been associated with unexpected artistic expression, never-before-seen audience interactions, in addition to their ‘dine in the dark’ BlackOut restaurant – which allows all guests to temporarily experience the unimaginable ways those who cannot hear or see make their way through the world, choosing to live a full life filled with fun, art, and exploration towards new understandings. Na Laga'at sneaks beauty into dark places that society prefers to ignore, and light into the lives of those who want to make a difference – in their own faiths, and by effecting audiences with strong emotion, clarity and intrigue. Since it opened its gates in 2007, the Na Laga'at crew has been promoting the needs and aspirations of every person, in the belief that all human beings are equal and every person has the right to make his or her contribution to society, garnering recognition from the The New York Times as “a simple, universal message, powerfully conveyed from the stage.” The ensemble includes 18 deaf-blind actors – some are completely deaf-blind, some have impaired vision or residual hearing, however all of them have personal interpreters of sign language by touch, who help and guide them during rehearsals, and also performances. Apart from the artists, the center offers employment opportunities to deaf, blind, and deaf-blind individuals, while enc
Interview with Israeli Icon Dana International: on the new exhibition inspired by her career
Curators Rafi Vazana and Dr. Guy Morag Tspelevich collaborated with Israel’s most famous diva, DanA International, bringing to life a collection of personal items, stage costumes (including the famous Jean-Paul Gaultier piece from her iconic Eurovision-winning performance), and showcase accessories used by Dana throughout the decades of her evergreen career. © Ziv Koren The exhibit of Beit Meirov Gallery in Holon will be dedicated to Dana International – who revolutionized local and global popular culture, becoming a landmark cultural icon in Israel and around the world. Dana International is much more than a successful pop singer, she is a pioneer of today’s blossoming Tel Avivian gay scene, a strong representative of equality, a television star, and, most importantly, an ambassador for the kind of Israel not many know about abroad: the accepting, colorful, and open-minded country. Since the 80’s she hasn’t stopped being thought-provoking, pushing the envelope while speaking courageously about sexual orientation, personal style, and untamed art. Her bold and daring costumes, her professional (and let’s be honest, super hot) dancers, and her fierce interviews have made her a true icon of our era. Singing in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, exploring all musical genres, and her 1995 win of Eurovision, led to her sitting on her throne, 25 years and running. The point is: it's hard to imagine Israel without Dana. Thankfully, we don’t have to. In all respects, she’s here to stay. H
Your online guide to Tel Aviv through gay tourist websites
It might be hard to find Gay Tel Aviv’s hottest spot, since the White City doesn’t have a specific gay area. But, the entirety of the city is absolutely gay-friendly. Check out these popular LGBTQ sites on the regular and you'll be sure to know where the latest party is – and who to go with. You online guide to Tel Aviv through gay tourist websites: The Gay Israel Guide “Come experience Israel, where you can express yourself, indulge yourself, or just be yourself in cosmopolitan gay-friendly cities and resort towns” – says the headline of this Tel Aviv-focused website. It invites all LGBTQ people to a year-round vibrant scene with a dazzling nightlife, hip restaurants, stylish boutiques and busy streets filled with clubs and cafés. This website is perfect for those who love to go out-and-about: catch a Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, lose yourself in the LGBT Pride celebrations and be in-the-know of the best art and culture festivals.gaytlvguide.com Tel Aviv Gay Vibe “Rising from the golden shores of the Mediterranean stands one of the most intriguing and exciting new gay capitals of the world – Tel Aviv!” Dramatically ecstatic as it may sound, this website accurately introduces the White City as a piece of gay heaven. Tel Aviv is described as the ideal combination of a perfect vacation for men and women – promising gorgeous guys dancing at the hottest clubs and stunningly beautiful women enjoying its pure shores. Highlighted are the modern and contemporary art galleries, cu
An Alternative Tel Aviv Pride
You don’t have to be a party animal, under 29, or single to sink your teeth into the lesser-known gems that Tel Aviv Pride has to offer. Israel’s attitude to the Pride spirit has changed a lot over the years. What started off as a private party and a small protest, is today a trending topic for thousands on social media. We’ve gone down rainbow memory lane with a few pro Tel Avivian veterans and gleaned the goods for what to do aside from the raucous Pride activities (that for some, can be too hot to handle). Pride picnic “In 1993, a group of young and excited people came together in Sheinkin Garden. I was only 28, and I was worried for my future. I took a part in the parade, although I hadn’t yet experienced how it is to be in a gay relationship, or to love another man,” says Rafi Niv, Chief Director of Beer Sheva Theater and Goodman Acting School. Today, in love for the last 15 years, with two children – Yotam, 8 and Noam, 17 – Pride offers a way deeper sense of understanding for him and his partner, Nir. Party like the 90’s – join the Sheinkin Street Party even before Pride Week opens. Live shows and talks will take place in honor of the first Pride event that took place on Sheinkin Street, celebrating 25 years of Israeli pride. And, it’s always gay picnic time at Gan Meir. On May 31, Gan Meir’s Gay Center welcomes rainbow families for a morning gathering celebrating Pride 2018. Show your True Colors “Even when I don’t go out to Pride parties, the colorful flags a
Time Warp: Celebrate Israeli LGBTQ PRIDE
It’s here again: the most wonderful time of the year, when the White City is covered in glitter, when rainbow flags are waving high and proud from every building and rooftop, and when the LGBTQ capital of the Middle East welcomes thousands of guests to gather in the name of love and equality. Lo and behold, a must-have list of all the can't-miss events. Sorry (not sorry) in advance for all the costume changes. TLV FEST This boundary-breaking film festival is a once-a-year chance to dive into the LGBTQ community, with indie, blockbuster films, and talks that raise awareness for the local community. TLVFest and Pride Week go hand in hand – a celebration of documentaries, romances and comedies from around the globe! Screenings through Saturday, June 9. Cinemateque, 2 Shprintsak St, Tel Aviv The Great Divas Fancy an opera experience – without having to go all posh? Celebrate 20 years of pride with the greatest superstars of all time and the Israeli Opera. They'll be performing evergreen hits by the square next to NYX Hotel, free for the public. June 4, 19:30-10:30. NYX Hotel, 29 HaRakevet St, Tel Aviv Lesbians Who Tech The third annual Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Tel Aviv Summit will bring together over 200+ queer women and gender nonconforming people (+ allies) across all areas of technology. Meet and greet with the greatest brains of our nation who’ll present their latest inventions and visions to make the world a better place. June 7, 9:00-17:00, @ir
An interview with Ariel Bar-Ziv of TADDEO, the go-to underwear and sportswear shop
Ariel Bar-Ziv, an entrepreneur-turned-start up businessman, opened TADDEO with his partner and professional architect, Srulik, three years ago. The underwear and sportswear “candy” shop became so popular that they have since branched out with more space in the store to feature trendy home furniture and accessories. Let’s go back to three years ago. What made you decide to open up a sportswear shop in Tel Aviv? Simply, there were no affordable men’s sportswear shops around with an emphasis on male underwear and swimwear. It’s almost like we started it for ourselves – and for the many others who wished for a shop like ours. By now, we are a concept store, with a wide range of menswear outfits for any occasion, and we even have a furniture and home accessories line. Who are the typical TADDEO costumers? Tourists, locals, or a mix of both? Lots of tourists, and not only because of the tax refund – even throughout the winter, and of course many, many locals. The crowd is very diverse, including women, and we love them all. We are not a typical shop. Our customers feel at home and very often come with friends who include it as their popular meeting point. We even have some couples who met here. We might have the look of a luxury store, but our hearts and our prices are down to earth. Our main goal is to serve our wonderful customers and give them the best service we can. How does the design of a sexy new tank top become reality? Srulik designs all the items, but there
Lean, Mean Queer Cuisine: 4 LGBTQA culinary experts hosting gastro experiences in Israel
These proud foodies are magicians in the kitchen, and dedicated activists for gay rights. Here’s an introduction to four LGBTQA culinary experts who host gastro experiences in Israel Eating Around Israel with Gavi Nelson © Sarah Levi Ex-New Yorker, 23-year-old Gavi lives in the White City’s hipster-favorite Florentine neighborhood and runs food tours in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market and Tel Aviv’s Hatikvah and Carmel Markets under the umbrella of his ‘Eating Around Israel’ food tours. His mom instilled a love of cooking and exploring food – it was never just about eating – so it’s no surprise Gavi’s tours delve into Israeli culture at its finest. “Making our way through the shuk, we meet chefs and restaurateurs, hear their stories, but most importantly we eat,” he chirps.Whether it be a steaming-hot empanada from a coal oven, or dim sum served in bamboo steamers, participants truly do eat their way around the country. “I am a proud and openly gay man, and I strongly believe in focused travel: I myself worked as a content writer and tour operator at Outstanding Travel, an Israel-based travel company which focuses on LGBTQ travel. I hope that through my food tours and the food I prepare, I am helping to cross boundaries and bring people together.” eatingaroundisrael.com, @eatingaroundisrael Natalie Seeff’s fusion kitchen Natalie grew up in Paris and lived in London before settling in Tel Aviv almost a decade ago, where she now lives and hosts the NatFlat Supp
A timeline of Israel's LGBTQ progression
Here’s a foundational timeline to show why Israel is the most gay-friendly state in the Middle East - thanks to hundreds of years of challenging the status quo. The 19th Century The Ottoman Empire’s regulations were actually way more LGBTQ friendly than modern day Turkey’s; in the land of Israel and Palestine, as part of Ottoman Syria, all previously existing sodomy laws were abolished. No surprise it was the most flourishing time for bath house culture. The 20th Century In the 1920’s the United Kingdom took over the territory and by default, existing laws in Britain against “buggery” (a more politically correct but similarly cruel word for sodomy) were set up by the colonial administration. Dizengoff Square, 1939 © Israel's Archives In the 50’s Before the gender revolution started, Israel already had its first transgender activist: Rina Natan, trans citizen of Israel who wanted to go through the transition to become a woman. She was denied, so she performed the surgery by herself – after she literally cut off her manhood, the hospitals had no choice but to treat her. In the 60’s In 1963 it was declared that the sodomy laws of the British Mandate would not be enforced, yet society still wasn’t ready for the big change. Thankfully, there was someone ready to break the ice: in 1968 Amir Sharon opened up the very first gay club on Tel Aviv’s Yordey HaSira Street. By the end of the decade, Tel Aviv, and even Jaffa, was flooded with gay bars – including an infamous se
Offline Dating: 4 unexpected places to meet your match
Lay off the hook up apps for a change, and find that special someone one in the most unassuming locales in Israel. Everyone knows love is in the air at festivals, beaches, and main stream clubs – but only a few open their hearts and eyes for romance to come along at these very special places. Get your search on. By the Western Wall © Shutterstock They say making a wish by the Western Wall will guarantee you a bright future – and that goes for relationships goals as well. The last remaining wall of the once upon a time Jewish temple is now a spiritual melting pot of tourists, local soul searchers, curious travelers and religious peeps of many kind from conservative to liberal. Now days when transgender individuals are finally allowed to pick their side of the wall – as ladies and gents pray separately – Jerusalem’s main attraction really is a place for lookin’ out for someone with an irresistible za-za-zoo. For organized walks and more information about the Kotel visit (english.thekotel.org) At the Old City of Jaffa © Shutterstock Whoever thinks Arab subculture and homosexuality are not a good match should watch groundbreaking documentary Oriented, telling the story of the gay Palestinians of Jaffa. Tel Aviv’s old town is often mistaken with dodgy and strictly traditional neighborhoods by people who’ve never been, but the stereotypes could not be more far away from reality. Visit Anna Lou Lou bar, a popular underground art and music hub for open minded Jews and Ar