The Aguda he Association for LGBTQ Equality Annual Report 2023

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2023 Annual Report The Aguda - The Association for LGBTQ Equality “We Are in This Together”

In reflecting upon the events of the past year, I am reminded of the biblical verse from Job 1:16, “While he was yet speaking, there came another.” In my previous year-end message, I expressed concerns about the challenges the LGBTQ community in Israel would likely face due to the formation of a new LGBTQ phobic coalition. Unfortunately, those concerns materialized into a reality. This past year has proven to be arduous and demanding as our community took to the streets to defend Israeli democracy, government structures, and our path toward equality. The instances of LGBTQ-phobia tripled, not only in numbers but also in the severity of attacks. Physical assaults became more prevalent, and the sense of personal security among community members was compromised. However, amid these challenges, there was a notable surge in activism within our community. We witnessed a collective effort by organizations, individuals, young advocates, and seasoned activists standing together, shoulder to shoulder, rain or shine, as an integral part of the liberal fabric of Israeli society, passionately fighting for the future of us all. While one occurrence takes place, another event unfolds before us.

Chairwoman’s Statement

During a period marked by heightened polarization, discord, and incitement within Israel, Black Saturday occurred—a ruthless terrorist attack by Hamas on the residents of our nation. In this historical juncture, we find ourselves grappling with both domestic and external threats. Members of our LGBTQ community are actively participating in the war effort, stationed on the borders, risking their lives for our collective security, fully aware that the battle for equality is yet to come. I remain hopeful that the Israeli public and its elected representatives, through the shared experiences of loss, will recognize the importance of ending discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Our community sacrifices its best sons and daughters and undeniably deserves an equal and fulfilling life in every aspect and field.

Hila Peer Chairwoman of The Aguda


Over the past year, the LGBTQ community in Israel, much like the entire society, has faced significant challenges. In recent months, we have witnessed the community's resilience and commitment as thousands of its members actively participate on the frontlines, contributing to both the home front and the battlefields. Unfortunately, we have mourned the loss of community members, some of whom lived their lives in the closet until their untimely deaths. Amidst the pain and uncertainty about the country's future, our security, and our lives moving forward, the LGBTQ community has demonstrated remarkable dedication through volunteering efforts, the establishment of shelters, support for the families of the fallen, and solidarity with families of the hostages. Our ability to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances and address emerging needs is our strength as an organization and a community. Throughout the recent challenges, we have expanded our assistance initiatives, provided support to bereaved families, extended hours of treatment for war victims, established activity and aid centers for evacuees, sent care packages to reservists in the field and achieved a historic amendment to the Bereaved Families Law in memory of Captain Sagi Golan. This amendment marks a significant stride towards equality for the LGBTQ community, a journey we are committed to until we achieve equality in all aspects of life.

The past year has been a pivotal one in the history of the State of Israel, with the LGBTQ community playing a substantial role. Our struggle for democracy and the right to live securely as LGBTQ individuals and Israelis is intertwined. It has become evident, especially this year, that our community is resilient, unified, and stands together. In 2023, the Aguda - The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel - achieved record breaking success. We organized a large demonstration during the Knesset's inauguration, marking the first major resistance against the new government's judicial overhaul and draconian measures. We mobilized nationwide against LGBTQ phobia, establishing a committee in the Knesset and increasing support for victims of discrimination and hatred based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Our collective strength as a community has proven capable of shaping a new reality in our country, even during the most challenging times. The LGBTQ community will remain an integral part of the mosaic of Israeli society, contributing, assisting, and striving to make our nation a safe space for everyone. Our demand for equality is fundamental, and we will persistently advocate for equal rights until our goals are achieved. We are here, and we are in this together.

CEO’s Statement

Ran Shalhavi CEO of The Aguda


We Are in This Together: One Community, One Force

Within the rich mosaic forming the LGBTQ+ community in Israel, The Aguda stands as a solid force of unity and progress. Pioneers among community organizations, The Aguda actively works to lead the public struggle for full equality of rights for LGBTQ+ members. The organization not only accompanies and nurtures local LGBTQ+ communities across the country but also provides support to LGBTQ+ individuals nationwide. Collaborating with numerous community organizations, The Aguda aims to strengthen each community member, making them an inseparable and equal part of Israeli society. Our commitment goes beyond supporting existing initiatives; we actively represent the LGBTQ+ community on national and international platforms. Breaking barriers and building bridges, we navigate towards a future where equality is not just a dream but a shared reality for all. This annual summary encapsulates the ethos “We are in this together” , portraying the remarkable journey we undertook in 2023.


Three Pivotal Pillars: The Aguda’s Quest for Equality through Advocacy, Community Building and Individual Services

The Aguda's summary of 2023 is a testament to our unwavering commitment as the foremost human rights organization in Israel dedicated to advancing LGBTQ+ rights, welfare, and well-being. As the umbrella organization uniting Israeli LGBTQ+ entities, grassroots movements, and communities, we stand resolute in our mission to cultivate a culture of acceptance and respect, steadfastly pursuing full equality across three pivotal pillars: Advocacy, LGBTQ community building, and Individual Services. In the realm of Advocacy, The Aguda has been a trailblazer since its establishment in 1975. Our tireless efforts extend from nationwide campaigns to local pride communities, advocating for transformative social and legislative change. Through strategic engagement with public, governmental, and political spheres, as well as leveraging media and social platforms, we champion the cause of LGBTQ+ equality in every corner of Israel. LGBTQ Community Building forms the vibrant heart of our multifaceted approach. Serving as the nexus for Israeli LGBTQ+ entities, grassroots movements, and

communities, we foster connections, provide leadership programs, and empower individuals to embrace their authentic selves no matter where they live. Our commitment extends to creating communal growth and well-being spaces, ensuring that LGBTQ+ individuals find a supportive network to thrive. Integral to our mission is providing Individual Services that cater to the diverse needs of LGBTQ+ individuals throughout Israel. Our comprehensive support spans a support hotline, legal aid against homophobia and discrimination, counseling services, healthcare support, and tailored programs for the Trans Community, LGBTQ in Arab society, and LGBTQ refugees and immigrants. Dedicated departments, clinics, staff, and volunteers collaborate to offer professional services, not only addressing immediate needs but also contributing to the broader goal of promoting LGBTQ+ equality in Israel. As we delve into the intricacies of this report, it becomes evident that these three pillars— Advocacy, LGBTQ Community Building, and Individual Services—are interwoven threads,

creating a resilient fabric that propels us toward our ultimate goal: promoting LGBTQ equality in Israel. This synergy is achieved through a strategic pincer movement strategy, seamlessly blending bottom-up initiatives within local communities with top down approaches in national and political spheres. We invite you to explore the achievements, challenges, and milestones of the past year, a testament to our community's collective impact and the enduring spirit of equality that propels The Aguda forward.

Individual Services

LGBTQ Community Building



Sustaining Community Resilience Amidst War: Stronger Together

To further support our mission, we introduced a training program tailored for caregivers involved in professional training (supervision) and those in mental health professions. The curriculum covers the latest therapeutic approaches in gender-affirming therapy, unique considerations when working with gender-diverse children and youth, training tools, ethics, and more. With the onset of the Israel-Hamas War, we collaborated with Hoshen, the ‘Gila Project for Trans Empowerment,’ and the Jerusalem Open House to establish a control center for the LGBTQ community—a WhatsApp group boasting over 900 participants. This group provided a secure space for community members to seek and offer help and assistance. The center facilitated assistance for over 100 individuals, addressing housing needs, emotional support, combatting loneliness, and distributing numerous food baskets and food stamps.

Additionally, recognizing the need to support communities affected by the war, we collaborated with other LGBTQ organizations in a joint project titled “A Place for Pride: A Space for the LGBTQ Community” within central evacuation centers. This initiative is poised in various forms until the war concludes and the evacuated communities can return home. Furthermore, we initiated a national needs assessment for the LGBTQ community in wartime, collaborating with the Israeli Institute for Gender and LGBTQ Studies. This collaboration enables us to offer pertinent solutions in conjunction with local authorities.

In the past year, the inception of the “Agents for Change” initiative aimed to address prevalent anti-LGBTQ sentiments, particularly those targeting the transgender community, originating from both the general public and occasionally from healthcare professionals. These sentiments often stemmed from unreliable, biased, and

Keinan Birenbaum VP of The Aguda

misrepresented information sources, focusing predominantly on developmental and therapeutic aspects concerning transgender children and adolescents. In response, we joined forces with the ‘Gila Project for Trans Empowerment’ in collaborating with leading academics and professionals in psychology, medicine, and social work to establish the “Maayan” (Spring) website. This online database compiles peer-reviewed research literature, providing accessible resources for therapists in Hebrew.


In my role as Vice President for Individual Services, navigating the challenges during the Israel-Hamas war has been extensive and impactful. It's heartening to see our community unite during such trying times. Within the Therapy and Counseling Department and the hotline, our focus has been on enhancing the sense of belonging, fostering support networks, and strengthening communal

sessions every two weeks, complemented by private conversations. Over 90% of hotline volunteers have engaged in these conversations. We remained responsive to emerging needs and reached new audiences in the Treatment Department. We organized Zoom sessions to discuss and learn mindfulness tools for self-soothing. Through collaboration with community organizations, we established a national treatment platform offering free first aid to anxiety and trauma victims. Treatment referrals have surged by approximately 150% since the war outbreak. Despite these efforts, the demand remains high, leading us to continue our work toward facilitating long term subsidized treatments and recruiting a dedicated clinical nurse. As time progressed, we recognized unique challenges within the LGBTQ community, including issues arising from the war, such as the absence of recognition for same-sex families in cases of abductions or casualties, which led us to enlist an attorney dedicated to assisting the LGBTQ community. Simultaneously, we acknowledged the challenges faced by family clinics nationwide, supporting couples amidst the war's uncertainties. While acknowledging the long road ahead, we understand that the war's effects will persist. The LGBTQ community will face complex and distinctive challenges. To address this, we are gearing up to provide communal, group, and individual responses

to enhance communal and personal resilience. In 2024, the hotline will launch a training course and expand its volunteer base by a third to handle the anticipated increase in inquiries, ensuring they are equipped to provide ongoing assistance in emergencies.

Efrat Frank VP of The Aguda

and personal resilience. Research indicates that community support plays a crucial role in alleviating symptoms of trauma and anxiety, reinforcing our belief that together, we can navigate through complex and intricate circumstances. As the war erupted on October 7, the hotline anticipated heightened activity. Throughout October, we operated with 30% more staff than the previous month, corresponding with the 35% increase in call volume from September to October. Simultaneously, we proactively reached out to community members lacking familial support, collaborating with the Tel Aviv LGBTQ center. Operating the hotline demanded exceptional strength from our volunteers, prompting us to conduct regular dialogue and sharing


Continuing Our Public Effort to Safeguard Democracy

Notably, the formation of the government included individuals with strong LGBTQ phobic stances, such as Avi Maoz, who was appointed as a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. Maoz focused on initiatives harmful to the LGBTQ community. However, the most reprehensible statement of the year came from MK Yitzhak Pindrus, who declared that the LGBTQ community posed a greater threat to Israel than Hamas, Hezbollah, and ISIS, advocating for its elimination. Already back when uttered, this statement prompted widespread condemnation, leading us to

couples, rectifying a long-standing injustice. The amendment, along with a new law to compensate family members of those missing or abducted in hostilities or war, which was also corrected accordingly, passed unanimously in the Knesset, marking a historic step towards equality. Looking ahead, we remain committed to advocating for equal rights in all arenas, including the Knesset, government, media, and the streets. As Israeli society undergoes soul-searching and shifts priorities after the war, addressing the historical injustice endured by the LGBTQ community is both socially and morally imperative. We will persist in promoting a comprehensive package of equality laws for LGBTQ individuals, seeking equality in life, not just in death.

In 2023, the LGBTQ community faced considerable challenges as our freedom and equality came under threat. Hostile attitudes from some anti-LGBTQ members of the Knesset and the new government fueled violence against the LGBTQ community as they sought to undermine democracy and the legal safeguards protecting us as individuals and as a community. In response to these

Imry Zagury Head of Policy and Governmental Affairs

demand the removal of immunity and prosecution for Pindrus, which turned out to be even more wretched in the face of the horrifying attacks on October 7. The LGBTQ community’s extraordinary contribution during the Israel-Hamas War underscored the inequality we face. The story of the late Captain Sagi Golan, killed defending Kibbutz Be’eri, who was supposed to marry his partner a few days after his fall, only to have instead the flowers intended to decorate their canopy placed on his grave. In response, the Aguda initiated an amendment to the Bereaved Families Law, ensuring that the definition of “spouse” includes same-sex

challenges, the Aguda recognized the need to make the inherent dangers of the legal overhaul accessible to the LGBTQ community. Our efforts included active participation in street protests, guerrilla operations, disseminating messages on social networks, organizing rallies, and engaging in days of disruption. Additionally, we prioritized communicating to the Israeli public the adverse implications of the legal changes on the LGBTQ community.

“The era in which we were legally discriminated against is coming to an end. We are equal when it comes to serving our country, and it is now essential that we are recognized as equals not only in death but in life...” Ran Shalhavi, CEO of The Aguda


Then came the poignant pivot on October 7, when the protests ceased, eclipsed by the sad shadow of the Israel-Hamas war. In the backdrop of the protest days, discrimination against the LGBTQ community loomed large. Yet, against the backdrop of war, the realization dawned — a significant number of LGBTQ reservists were thrust onto the front lines and the home front. It became crucial for us to express appreciation and assure them that they were not alone. To this end, we sent packages to approximately 150 reservists and continue sending more. In collaboration with the "Shpagat" bar, we sought to weave threads of solidarity for the release of abductees, standing together under the banner of shared humanity. Between the enthusiasm of protest and the echoes of war, we hosted conferences, forged alliances with LGBTQ establishments, and facilitated the distribution of pride equipment nationwide. Each action carried a poignant undertone—a testament to a community's resilience in the face of adversity, a plea for understanding, empathy, and the hope for a more inclusive future.

The role of the field coordinator materialized in February, concurrent w i t h t h e commencement of the judicial overhaul protests. In those early days, our modest yet resolute group stood shoulder to shoulder each week at the heart of the rally, a beacon of pride. As we gradually forged connections with fellow LGBTQ community

exacted on the LGBTQ community, declaring our unwavering commitment to stand firm and fight for our rights amidst the tumult. As time progressed, we issued a national call, inviting those interested in leading LGBTQ groups in their cities to join forces with us, the Aguda. The response was inspiring. LGBTQ groups blossomed nationwide, echoing the collective message: "We want to be proud in Israel." We supported them with shirts, signs, flags, and stickers. Week after week, they echoed our message in Tel Aviv, Be'er Sheva, Holon, Modi'in, Herzliya, Haifa, and beyond. Simultaneously, we endeavored to inform and unite the community through webinar sessions, rallying them for the cause. With the dismissal of Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant and the initial passage of the reform, our proud bloc, composed of hundreds of volunteers, emerged as a steadfast and engaged force and stood in the hallowed halls of the Israeli Knesset, amplifying our resolute voice.

Amit Shemesh Field Coordinator

organizations like Hoshen and Merima, a collective vision emerged. Together, we defined our objectives, the poignant message we sought to convey on behalf of the LGBTQ community, our appearance, our rallying cries, and more. We sought to expose the unequivocal toll the judicial overhaul


Local Pride from North to South

The past year has been dynamic growth and engagement for the Local Pride department. Our mi ss i on

enhance access to services across the country. In building strong relationships with local communities, we actively participated in leadership roles, protesting in Haifa and Be’er Sheva against the judicial overhaul while supporting numerous centers nationwide. Collaborating with the Israeli Institute for Gender and LGBTQ Studies, we conducted a nationwide comprehensive needs mapping process in municipalities. This invaluable tool established direct connections with local communities, enabling us to identify specific responses authorities could provide and outlining the Aguda’s role in addressing those needs. Our commitment to local policy advocacy was evident once again in the launch of our 4th Municipal LGBTQ Equality Index , evaluating the actions of 85 municipalities in promoting LGBTQ rights within their jurisdictions. Concurrently, we produced “The Municipal Roadmap for LGBTQ Equality,”

remains focused on fortifying and nurturing local LGBTQ communities nationwide, catalyzing policy

outlining a meticulous plan to secure LGBTQ rights across various aspects of life. An adapted version of this roadmap was featured as a chapter in “Mtspen” (compass), a guide for elected officials promoting equality in local government. In anticipation of the October 2023 municipal elections, our “Run for the Councils” program—dedicated to training and mentoring LGBTQ candidates—successfully attracted participants from all corners of the country. Looking ahead, we remain committed to deepening connections with activists through initiatives such as the regional “Local Pride Leadership Course” in collaboration with the Ministry for Social Equality. By fostering collaboration and implementing tangible tools for action, we aim to promote LGBTQ communities at the local level further, creating a shared infrastructure for cooperative efforts and societal change. As we embark on the coming year, we are excited to continue our impactful work and weave the fabric of an ever-renewing, supportive network. Presenting the Municipal LGBTQ Equality Index to the President

shifts at the municipal level. This is all geared towards addressing the unique needs of local community members and ensuring the well-being and the overall sense of security

Maya Yairi Head of Local Pride

for LGBTQ individuals. By fostering collaboration among local authorities, grassroots activists, and LGBTQ organizations, we strive to instigate local transformations that ripple into national change. Diversifying our reach, we successfully expanded our operations to encompass various regions nationwide. A dedicated team, with coordinators for the north, center, and south, collaborated with local activists to champion LGBTQ causes at the community level. These regional hubs facilitated connections between authorities and the local LGBTQ community, organizing cluster meetings and special events to

The Municipal Roadmap for LGBTQ Equality Launch Event


Change Starts in the Community - Collaborative Initiative and Its Profound Influence

As Project Manager at The Aguda, I am thrilled to convey the profound impact of our collaborative venture with the Ministry for Social Equality. This dynamic collaboration unites diverse organizations, including IGY, Hoshen, Pride Houses Forum, A Room of Our Own, Israel AIDS Taskforce, and Chaya, each pivotal in providing comprehensive assistance to the LGBTQ+ population. Our project, spanning multiple

I am particularly honored and excited to manage a project of such magnitude and significance. The scale of our endeavor reflects the dedication and hard work put forth to address the diverse needs of the LGBTQ+ community. This experience has been truly enriching, and I take immense pride in contributing to initiatives that bring about tangible positive change. The significance of this project cannot be overstated. It serves as a beacon of progress, breaking down barriers and fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for the LGBTQ+ community in Israel and beyond. The impact reverberates far beyond the immediate beneficiaries, creating a ripple effect and contributing to positive societal attitudes and structural change. Your continued support is instrumental in making these transformative changes possible, and together, we are truly making a lasting difference.

Gal Hason Development Coordinator

fields, addresses the unique needs of our community members, such as leadership groups, various schemes for members of the Arab community, the trans community, community members aged 50+, and more. Witnessing the transformative effect of our collective efforts on the lives of individuals within the LGBTQ+ community is deeply gratifying.


Beit el-Meem A Safe Space for Arab LGBTQ

and public activities. This initiative serves as a pilot for groups in other cities, emphasizing creating a “safe space” and exploring diverse topics. The organization experienced a significant increase in engagement on the hotline and psychosocial assistance.

Psychosocial Clinic- Number of Patients

Hotline - Total Calls

In a transformative year, Beit el-Meem navigated both surges

TV program "From the Other Side" with Jalal Ayoub



in vibrant activities and profound challenges, embodying a narrative of c o u r a g e , solidarity, and unwavering



advice, distributed food stamps and baskets, initiated a movie screening group, and offered a first aid course for mental health recovery. Despite personal and organizational challenges in 2023, including judicial reform and the intersection of Arab and LGBTQ identities, Beit el-Meem prioritized supporting marginalized populations. Community recovery activities included mindfulness sessions, financial assistance through food stamps and baskets, and group therapy. While 2023 presented significant challenges, it showcased the strength of the community. Beit el-Meem has substantially grown within the Arab LGBTQ community, positioning itself as a robust and influential organization for the future.



2022 2023



Beit el-Meem confronted two challenging events in the past year: Sarit Ahmed’s Murder: During the “Speaking from the Heart - Pride in the Living Room” event, news of Sarit Ahmed’s murder prompted immediate action. Beit el-Meem opened an emergency helpline, established three support groups in Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, and actively participated in media discussions and interviews. Israel-Hamas War: Engaging on multiple fronts, Beit el-Meem provided mental health

commitment to fostering pride within the Arab LGBTQ community. Amidst highs and lows, the organization emerged as a beacon of support, a testament to the strength within each member

Orwa Adam Director of Beit el-Meem

of this remarkable community. Over the past year, Beit el-Meem experienced a significant uptick in activity, hosting two record-setting events with 100 participants each and establishing two leadership groups—the northern group in Haifa and the central group in Tel Aviv. Comprising 25 individuals each, these groups aim to foster pride within the Arab LGBTQ community through monthly meetings involving collaborative learning, activism, volunteering,

Podcast "One a Day": Being LGBTQ in Arab Society

"We expect the Arab MKs to recognize us. We're fed up being on the margins of society." From an article on Walla News


Promoting Development within the Asylum-Seekers & Refugees Department

This year has been pivotal for our LGBTQ asylum seekers and refugees department as we

The impact of war is acutely felt by LGBTQ refugees, rendering them even more vulnerable. Throughout the year, we have assisted applicants who faced unjust deportations, job losses, and discrimination from authorities. Their struggles might go unnoticed without a volunteer to turn to or someone to listen and advocate on their behalf. Despite adversity, we believe in affording them the support they deserve based on their inherent worth. Looking ahead, we remain optimistic that the current challenges will subside, allowing us to continue supporting LGBTQ asylum seekers and refugees on their journey toward a safer and more inclusive future. In the coming year, we aim to enhance further the experiences of those seeking refuge and escaping persecution based on their sexual orientation. Our vision extends beyond immediate assistance; we aspire to be staunch advocates for the rights of LGBTQ asylum seekers and refugees to essential services such as welfare, health, and a fair asylum procedure. This commitment aligns with the continual growth of our department, both in terms of those receiving services and those contributing to them, fostering a sense of community where mutual support thrives.

successfully tripled the number of applicants receiving crucial aid. Throughout the year, our focus has been on fortifying and

expanding the department. We achieved this by doubling our volunteer force and implementing specialized training groups to ensure a top-notch response for as many LGBTQ asylum-seekers

Most of the applicants are Palestinians from the West Bank

Titi Katan Asylum Seekers and Refugees Department Manager

Age- 17-30

90% Gay Men 10% Cis Women & Trans

and refugees as possible. Upon welcoming new volunteers, we ask, "Who do you turn to when facing adversity?" We aim to be that reliable support system for each LGBTQ individual seeking asylum, particularly those grappling with estranged families and arriving in a foreign country without language skills or a support network. Our primary objective is to offer a welcoming haven and, secondly, to amplify their voices.

Most of them live in Tel Aviv and Haifa

Work in construction and restaurant-related occupations


The Fight Against LGBTQ-phobia

In the past year, the LGBTQ community faced an escalating crisis in the fight against LGBTQ phobia, exacerbated by the emergence of an anti-LGBTQ government. This administration, seeking to enact legal reforms, triggered a surge in violence against LGBTQ individuals. Our last published LGBTQ Phobia Status Report in Israel revealed a significant rise in both physical and ve r ba l assaults, desecration of Pride flags, and discrimination across public and private sectors. Confronted with this

director of the rights exhaustion department, and appeals to public/private entities for condemnation or policy changes. Educational initiatives, such as training by the Hoshen organization in schools, were implemented, recognizing that harm can stem from ignorance rather than hatred. To enhance collaboration with law enforcement, we strengthened our relationship with our police representative, facilitating channels for victims to seek justice. In cooperation with Reichman University’s legal department, a new initiative, the Legal Clinic, named after the late Shira Banki, offered close guidance on appealing violence cases. The Israel-Hamas war posed additional challenges, particularly the fear of harassment towards LGBTQ reservists based on their sexual orientation. We established close communication with reservists, urging them to report discrimination cases, and engaged with military officials to address any inequality. Maintaining contact with reserve officers during the war was crucial, recognizing the difficulty in reporting LGBTQ phobic incidents amid competing priorities. Throughout the year, and especially during the war, we provided essential support to community members in need, including food baskets, food stamps, and assistance with rent. Our dedicated volunteers who joined the

collective struggle made these efforts spanning the country possible. Looking ahead, our commitment remains strong. We aim to build on our achievements, offering innovative and comprehensive solutions to aid those who have experienced discrimination or hatred based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

5 7

Increase in LGBTQ abuse reports in the public sphere

Increase in LGBTQ abuse reports where the offending parties are public figures and the media

Yana Leshkowitz Rights Exhaustion Manager


53 %

challenging reality, a swift adaptation was essential. Our response involved a comprehensive media campaign across networks to raise awareness of the Aguda’s reporting center, named after the late Nir Katz. We recruited and trained additional volunteers to provide more available and sensitive support. The reporting center offers various options for victims, including empathetic conversations, legal assistance from top lawyers, personal support from the

Increase in reports from individuals in the Trans community

Increase in discrimination reports involving services at businesses


Data for Social Change

The Israeli Institute for Gender and LGBTQ Studies experienced remarkable growth and achievement throughout 2023. Our commitment to advancing understanding and awareness of LGBTQ issues in Israel was reflected in completing 15 comprehensive studies covering various topics related to LGBTQ life in the country. N o t a b l y , o u r groundbreaking study on LGBTQ individuals in Arab society revealed that 83% of community members remain in the closet and

A significant milestone achieved in 2023 was the establishment of a research infrastructure in preparation for the upcoming national community survey census scheduled for 2024. Additionally, we expanded our collaborative efforts with international research teams on LGBTQ health and initiated several groundbreaking projects in partnership with government ministries, local authorities, academic institutions, and community organizations. Through extensive partnerships with activists, organizations, and allies across various sectors, we gained invaluable insights into the unique characteristics and needs of LGBTQ individuals. As we conclude a year of intensive work, during which our research findings were disseminated in academic forums, Knesset committees, and the media, we are witnessing our vision of using data and knowledge as a foundation for positive social change materializing. Looking ahead to 2024, we remain committed to conducting new studies, launching our revamped website, and advancing the concept of 'data for social change.' We aim to foster ever-expanding partnerships across all sectors, continuing our mission to create a more inclusive and informed society.

A study conducted by Dr. Siegel Goldin from the Israeli Institute for Gender and LGBTQ Studies among the LGBTQ community uncovers concerning insights about their trust in the police over the past three months. The research, conducted in April 2023, involved 301 LGBTQ participants representing diverse sexual and gender identities nationwide.

Indicated that their sense of security in public areas has deteriorated over the past three months, expressing that they now feel less secure. Responded that they have minimal or no trust in the police to ensure their protection.


Dr. Sigal Gooldin Head of the

Israeli Institute for Gender and LGBTQ Studies


72% lack family support. Another study explored barriers to healthcare access within the trans community, uncovering that over 80% hesitated to seek necessary treatment due to fear of discrimination. Looking ahead to the coming year, we will prioritize mapping gaps and risk factors in the LGBTQ community, accompanied by policy studies aimed at mitigating these disparities.

Responded that they feel unsafe while commuting or attending demonstrations.



The Aguda in the Media and Social Networks

vociferously demanding equality, and initiating a symbolic protest that became the catalyst for resistance against the judicial overhaul throughout the year.

Europe, we responded with factual information, refuting claims and taking legal action against those spreading false accusations. In times of national conflict, our LGBTQ community members courageously stood at the forefront of the battle. Despite being deemed worthy to sacrifice their lives for the country, they continue to face inequality and a lack of equal rights. We pledge to amplify their call for equality and security, persisting even beyond times of war until every citizen in Israel recognizes their inherent right to equality in all aspects of life. Looking ahead, significant challenges confront the LGBTQ community as anti LGBTQ organizations systematically strive to diminish public support. We remain committed to thwarting these efforts and advancing inclusive, diverse LGBTQ visibility that authentically reflects our lives and aspirations. The fight has just begun, and we stand ready to face it head-on.

This year has marked a significant surge in LGBTQ visibility, underscoring the resilience and influence of the LGBTQ community within Israeli society. From the onset of the government’s inauguration, amid discussions of a p r o p o s e d discriminatory law affecting LGBTQ individuals’ access to services and products, we spearheaded the first demonstration of the year. This event, held in opposition to hate and in

The juxtaposition on News 12’s split screen, displaying both the LGBTQ rally concurrently with the government’s swearing-in, epitomized our community’s unwavering strength. It emphasized our collective commitment to safeguarding our rights and resisting any encroachment. Subsequently, our active involvement in protests against the judicial overhaul illuminated the perils of the reform for community members. The pride flag prominently featured in rallies, second only to the Israeli flag, exemplified our steadfast dedication to the cause. Simultaneously, this year witnessed an alarming rise in LGBTQ-phobia. Through media and social networks, we shared harrowing stories of community members subjected to attacks in public spaces and homes. Regular updates on increasing LGBTQ-phobia cases, reported regularly at our reporting center, were broadcast, featuring interviews with dozens of community members each week. Confronting incitement and false narratives against the trans community, imported from the USA and

Amir Moshe The Aguda's Spokesperson

support of LGBTQ rights, saw community members blocking the Ayalon highway,


The campaign to engage the LGBTQ community in the protest against the judicial overhaul aimed at achieving two primary objectives: mobilizing community members for active participation in demonstrations and fostering a connection between the broader liberal public and the LGBTQ struggle for equality, aligning them with the protest’s overarching goals. The campaign featured numerous posts, graphics, statistics, and videos designed to inspire community members to join the cause and take part in the the ongoing fight. “This is a war for our lives and when our lives are threatened - we will fight back” The Aguda’s Chairwoman Hila Peer judicial_ overhaul

Our social media reservists’ campaign was launched right at the onset of the war. Amidst the challenging reality of war, community members enlisted across various fronts discovered a supportive entity in the Aguda. Acting as a comforting presence from home, the Aguda provided real-time responses to those involved in the war effort. The military personnel emerged as prominent representatives of the LGBTQ community as they actively engaged in security, medical, and emergency efforts. This diverse spectrum of the LGBTQ community was a source of inspiration for the public back home. The campaign evolved to include the dispatch of care packages to our reservists and a WhatsApp group to address field related issues during combat. israel_ hamas_war

Amit Reiss Head of New-Media

28 Videos




35,260 Followers 1.5M



Rising Above Challenges: The Trans Center’s Journey Through Expansion and Growth

community-driven projects that extended beyond its physical space. Activities at the center spanned a diverse range, including regular yoga classes, game nights, creative workshops, lectures on trans rights, social gatherings, therapy groups, legal advice sessions, free dance spaces, mindfulness practices, self-defense classes, and the establishment of a trans database through a community initiative. Noteworthy events featured a permanent exhibition showcasing artists from the trans spectrum, record-setting participatory events, and more. Emphasizing diversity, the center collaborated with other LGBTQ organizations. Events commemorating holidays from various religions in Israel, activities for families with children, youth engagements, and partnerships with student groups contributed to an inclusive environment. Despite the positive developments, the year also brought challenges, with emotional highs and lows. Notably, during a “Day of Disruption” in March, the center faced tensions as activists, including key figure Nina Halevi, were arrested. Despite the concerns, the community rallied in support, leading to the activists’ release. Amid a politically charged atmosphere and increased hostility towards the LGBTQ community, the trans center responded by reinforcing its activities and providing a secure space for those affected. The center also became a base for protest actions, fostering positive visibility. In the face of transphobia, the community utilized materials provided by the center for

demonstrations and advocacy. The outbreak of war prompted a shift in the center’s activities, temporarily halting physical gatherings for safety reasons. However, digital initiatives were quickly implemented, including emotional resilience workshops and expressive activities. Despite the challenges posed by the war, routine activities resumed in November, supplemented by online workshops. The war exacerbated existing mental and economic hardships within the trans community, prompting the center to intensify efforts. Looking forward, we are excited about the opportunities for growth, advocacy, and community building that lie ahead. The past year’s experiences have only strengthened our resolve to create a better future for the trans community. We are actively working on expanding therapeutic solutions, addressing emerging needs, and promoting inclusivity.

In 2023, the Trans Center, established in collaboration with the ‘Gila Project for Trans Empowerment’

in July 2022, experienced remarkable growth and became a pivotal hub for the trans community in

Israel. Led by and for the trans community, the center served as a space for community


About 3000

engagement, social services, and rights advocacy. Throughout the year, it evolved into a central gathering point, fostering initiatives, collaborations, and Michal Stoler Director of the Trans Center

Mentoring meetings at the center

Individual inquiries handled

25 Treated by a psychiatrist

50 Received legal aid

40 Treated by the center’s nurse


United for Progress: Thanks for Your Partnership

As we bid farewell to a year filled with challenges, triumphs, and unwavering solidarity, The Aguda is honored to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the remarkable individuals and organizations who have stood by our side in advancing the rights and well-being of the

To our dedicated supporters and contributors, your enthusiasm and passion have been the driving force behind our success. Your belief in our mission has inspired us to push boundaries, challenge stereotypes, and advocate for the rights and dignity of every member of the LGBTQ community. We also extend our gratitude to the LGBTQ allies who have stood with us, amplifying our message of acceptance and equality. Your advocacy has been a powerful force for change, helping to create a society where everyone can live authentically and without fear of discrimination. In pursuing excellence and accountability, we proudly announce the renewal of our Midot Seal of Effectiveness, reaffirming our commitment to impactful, results-driven planning and measurement, highlighting the efficacy of our programs and our team's commitment to making a meaningful impact. Moreover, we've achieved NGOsource Equivalency Determination, certifying us as a U.S. public charity equivalent and unlocking new global collaboration opportunities. The Aguda has also earned a CAF International certification through a comprehensive review of operational elements, including governance, financial transparency, and

integrity, ensuring every donation is used for charitable purposes. This certification underscores our dedication to accountability and transparency, assuring supporters that their contributions have a meaningful impact on the lives of LGBTQ individuals. As we reflect on the achievements of the past year, we're reminded that the fight for LGBTQ civil rights isn’t just the story of dramatic events and major accomplishments. Rather, it comprises the collective impact of individual efforts. It involves standing up, making our voices heard, and fighting for shared goals. Together, with the unwavering support of our community, we have proven that progress is achievable when we stand united. With deep gratitude and a renewed sense of purpose, we look forward to another year of collaboration, growth, and positive change for the LGBTQ community in Israel and beyond. Thank you for being an essential part of our journey.

LGBTQ community in Israel. Your support has catalyzed positive change, empowering us to break barriers and create a more inclusive and accepting society. First and foremost, we express our most profound appreciation to our generous donors, whose commitment to our cause has allowed us to implement impactful programs, support vital initiatives, and amplify the voices of those we serve. Your contributions have been instrumental in fostering a safer and more equal environment for LGBTQ individuals across Israel. Sagi Siani Director of Development


Your spare change can change the world for us! Support the LGBTQ community by joining Round Up – round up every credit card purchase to the nearest shekel. Those rounded pennies add up to a few single shekels each month, substantially contributing to the Aguda.

Round-Up with every purchase, contribute to the community!


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