New York mural compares gay rights in Israel to its neighbours

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A mural in New York’s West Village has provoked controversy by depicting gay rights in Israel and comparing it to the status of LGBT people in the countries that neighbour and surround it.

The mural, finished today, shows the outlines of two men holding hands, headlined by the question: “Who would YOU want at your wedding?” The men also hold up a balancing scale which offers a portrait of the contrast between Israel and its Arabic neighbours on the issue of gay rights.

The Israeli side claims that the country allows same-sex couples to adopt, lets gay people openly serve in the military, and that more than 10,000 people attended Tel Aviv’s gay pride last year. By contrast, the side marked ‘Israel’s Neighbors,’ the mural notes that homosexuality is punishable by death in Iran, and that there is no gay pride parade in Egypt, Jordan or Gaza.

The mural, commissioned by Alumni Community of Birthright Israel, which sends young Jewish people to Israel to strengthen ties with the latter, has proved controversial, both amidst gay people and the public at large.

The New York Times reports Israeli Consulate describing the mural’s statements as accurate, but the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition calling it “blatantly divisive.”

The mural is expected to remain “until defaced,” according to a statement from Birthright Israel. Israel’s parliament rejected a bill for equal and inter-faith marriage bill just a few days ago.