Haifa ‘family values’ parade slams city’s annual pride event

About 1,000 people marched to tout traditional family values a day before the city officially celebrated its LGBTQ community.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

About a thousand people participated in a “Family Pride” march in Haifa Thursday to declare their adherence to traditional family values a day before the city held its annual Gay Pride parade.

The small crowd consisted of both secular and religious people who held signs such as “There’s no love in the world like that of Mom and Dad,” and “A mother and a father are in our DNA.”

To counter the idea being pushed by alternate-lifestyle supporters that families can have two fathers or two mothers, children and adults alike could be seen wearing T-shirts saying, “There’s only one [kind of] family.”

It is possible that the low turnout could be attributed to a relative lack of exposure the event received ahead of time. One of the organizers, Na’ama Sela, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Facebook had closed the page that was advertising the march in an attempt to prevent it.

“We are being fought on all possible sides,” she said.

She and others organized the event to push back against the modern societal trend to blur the lines of sexual identity, stressing that it starts with children at a very young age.

“The LGBT organizations make their way to the education system from kindergarten,” Sela said. “There is an open debate on sexuality in school and on the street, while the ordinary family disappeared from the public agenda. The discussion speaks of vague sexuality and of a flexible family.”

After the traditionalists had their say, Haifa’s 13th annual parade celebrating the LGBTQ community attracted some 3,000 participants Friday. Led by Mayor Einat Kalish-Rotem, who declared that “Haifa loves everyone and will always love everyone,” they made their regular call for the Israeli government to grant its public equal rights, and finished off with a street party.

Haifa’s Gay Pride parade was dwarfed by Tel Aviv’s event, in which a quarter of a million people took part on June 14th – the largest parade of its kind in the Middle East. It was modest even in relation to the procession held in Jerusalem at the beginning of the month, in which 10,000 people marched under heavy security due to attacks committed in previous years against participants.