(JTA) — Tel Aviv launched its gay pride festivities.
Rainbow flags and balloons festooned the city’s streets on Friday, and an array of celebrities and politicians addressed the crowd of thousands.
Among the speakers were Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and U.S. Ambassador Daniel Shapiro. Wearing a shirt featuring a rainbow flag, the symbol of the gay community, Shapiro told Ynet that the United States supports the rights of the LGBT community in Israel and worldwide.
A parade culminated with a beach party.