Pride parade fills Tel Aviv streets as COVID-19 curbs creep back


Israel’s swift vaccination campaign made it possible to conduct the march by the sea after it was canceled last year over coronavirus concerns. An estimated 100,000 attended.

“It’s still surreal. It’s so crazy to see so many people outside and the music and happiness … I’m still getting used to it,” said Mor Eliezri, 26, one of the few protesters who wore a face mask wear .

Over 55% of the Israeli population is vaccinated, new infections with COVID-19 have decreased, and the country has eased most of its health restrictions.

But a recent spike in cases attributed to the highly infectious Delta variant prompted health officials on Friday to prescribe masks indoors again, recommending wearing them at major outdoor events – with special attention to the pride parade. Continue reading

“In Israel there is a feeling that everything is done, COVID is behind us. But it doesn’t seem … will it ever end? I’m not so sure,” said Eliezri.

As the crowds waved blue and white Israeli flags with hearts and danced through the streets, some said the hardships suffered during the pandemic made them less afraid of another outbreak.

“We have overcome so many things, and we can overcome that too. It is the reality of the world today,” said Maayan Sharet, 33.

“If we have to be locked out for a while, we’ll find a way to do it happily and come back to life.”

Writing by Rami Ayyub Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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