Tel Aviv went back to its usual white and sandy beige, after over one week of streets full of rainbow flags, and rainbow people spreading around town like happy campers on a summer holiday. 35.000 from abroad, they say, and if it’s accurate, that means over 160.000 were Israelis, last Friday, marching colorfully on the seaside.
Since my arrival to Tel Aviv, I am always amazed during the Gay Pride week, and not for the mere amount of flashy hyper-refined male representatives of the human race, rather because I read the subtext. When you are a Telavivi, even more if you have been a New Yorker before, you learn how to see the carefully planned politics embodied in the texture of your city: exactly where everyone else sees simple plastic rainbows flags, for example. In tough public relations times, when on campuses and on the news the BDS takes the stage against Israel, here in Tel Aviv we confuse the enemy by showing something they really don’t want to accept: that we are a democratic and open society, and most of us, certainly in the sin city of Tel Aviv, are happy to include in our holy people all sorts of alternative gender definitions. To make the point even more clear, Miss Trans 2016 is a Palestinian, even though by being Christian she loses a few points.
Now, since we really are a democratic and open society, on Sunday the spotlights turned from the beach up to the hills where a much less colorful type of parade marked the Jerusalem Day. The shift can give goosebumps, especially to those who support the pride day and happen to be also happy that we did win the Six Days war, when Israel was in real and present danger of surviving at all. It takes an extra dosage of democratic values to digest the excess, lack of order and over-excitement in every rally, march, parade. Only, down at the beach the excess was mostly driven by true happiness and freedom (and some beer). Up the hill, things heat up much faster, and whatever we may tell ourselves, “Har Habayt Beiadenu” is not an accurate description of the present and Jerusalem is still far away from going back to the “Jerusalem of gold” of the song.
*Daniela Fubini (Twitter @d_fubini) lives and writes in Tel Aviv, where she arrived in 2008 from Turin via New York.