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Tel Aviv Goes Gay for €250 ::

Reported by Ben Stroud on May 28, 2009

Israeli airline El Al are offering ultre-cheap weekend trips from Europe to Tel Aviv throughout June in an attempt to lure thousands of tourists to the city’s gay pride celebrations. Travellers are being offered three nights in 3 star hotels plus return flights for just €250 to attend Pride, which this year coincides with Tel Aviv’s 100th anniversary. 

The month starts with a screening of director Yair Keidar’s new documentary ‘Gay Days’ telling the story of Tel Aviv’s gay scene since the 80s and featuring a music score by Israeli DJ and artist Ellyot Dragon.

Ellyot, a regular contributor to Skrufff, welcomed the initiative.

“I think many gay tourists are delighted by it and I’m sure they will have a great time,” she predicted, “The contrast between Tel Aviv’s beautiful weather and people with the ugly politics make the city a unique, intoxicating, intense place,” said Ellyot.

Religious leader and Tel Aviv City Council member Rabbi Naftali Lobert immediately highlighted the polarization attacking El Al for offending his ‘ultra-Orthodox community’.

"This is a disgrace,” Rabbi Lobert told Ynet News, “n general, this whole pride parade – it would be better to watch a show at the circus than this parade,” he added.

The story emerged just as a new poll revealed that 85% of Israelis are concerned about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons with almost 25% of the population admitting they were considering leaving the country in the event of Iran going nuclear.

Study chief David Menashri blamed the ‘violent rhetoric’ of both Israeli and Iranian leaders for provoking widespread fear, a point Ellyot Dragon readily agreed with.

“As always, all governments need an evil empire to pin all our troubles on,” said Ellyot.

“Of course, Iran going nuclear is a terrifying thought , but it is not the cause of all that is wrong with the Middle East. I will not leave Israel because of this threat, because where can I go realistically, that is nuclear free?

“This whole debate is a spin,” she added, “To persuade us to forget about the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the bombs that Hamas are throwing on southern Israel, the state of health and education throughout the region. Don't believe the hype,” she advised. (El Al Airlines)

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