But Israel wants to change that perception. The Jewish nation wants to become the LGBT beacon of the Middle East, the Associated Press reports.
Israel’s Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs has established a cadre of LGBT volunteers to promote its image abroad.
Ministry spokesman Gal Ilan said Thursday that the goal was to highlight Israel’s diversity. He said when people think about Israel, the gay community is often overlooked.
There are no details yet on how many people have volunteered.
In general, homosexuals have a hard time worldwide. But the Middle East seems to be the most dangerous area to be rainbow friendly. Syria, Israel’s neighbor to the north, criminalizes homosexuality and offenders can be slapped with three-year prison sentences. Israel’s other neighbors Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan do not have laws banning homosexuality. But neither nation is particularly welcoming of openly gay people, either.
Do you think Israel’s recruitment of gays and lesbians to promote their homeland is a good idea? Let us know what you think.