Best Vacation Evaaaaaah!Jewlicious Apparel has two new apparel related announcements for all you lovers of cool Jewish themed t-shirts. First of all cafepress announced a Valentine’s Day special – Free shipping on orders of $50 or more if you live in the US up until Feb. 14, 2007 – just add the following code at checkout: VDAYSHIP. I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day but a bargain is a bargain… so get shopping!

A new addition to our collection, due to popular demand, is the Palestine is for Lovers – Gay Edition collection. Perfect for when you next visit Palestine to participate in the world famous Gaza City Gay Pride Parade or party it up in the many gay clubs and cafes in Ramallah.

Not. Actually it seems like the impending arrival of Valentine’s Day is as good a time as any to remind you all of the continued plight of gay Palestinians. I don’t actually expect we’ll sell a whole lot of these shirts, but I do expect to at least shed some light on the situation. Palestinian homosexuals continue to be subject to arrest, torture, rape and murder, both at the hands of their families and the local authorities. International human rights groups operating in the West Bank and Gaza as well as various advocacy organizations around the world continue to ignore this problem. The only relief for Palestinians is escape to Israel, the only country in the Middle East where gays receive a certain measure of freedom and legal protection. Feel free to read these recent/informative articles about the situation. Uh… happy Valentine’s Day…

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Those shirts are so… gay?

    Well done CK! another wonderful idea about shirts that are totally funny and will create all sorts of conversation on the issue.

  • here’s another view

    If Palestinian gays did not have enough troubles of their own, an additional security danger is the Israeli Occupation. The Israel Security Service (Shabak) cynically uses Palestinian homophobia and coerces gays to choose between recruitment in its ranks and forceful outing. Most Palestinian gays choose the first option in order to save their lives. As such, every gay is considered a potential collaborator. Hussein and Samar have yet to be recruited and it also seems that it will happen soon, given the high status of their families. But two years ago Hussein was kidnapped from his home, most likely by Fatah men, who wanted to “shake” him up and check whether he is a collaborator. “They kidnapped me because I had long hair,” he relates. “They took me to a large empty area, where they beat me up and dragged me on the ground. They interrogated me with regard to sex with men. I told them that I was not gay. Had I admitted to them that I was gay, it would have meant that I am a collaborator. They beat me with sticks and stones. Every time I said “no” they hit me. I said that I love Palestine and I would never in my life work for Israel. Finally at 12:30 after midnight they put me in a car and dropped me off near the house.” The Palestinian security service has also not overlooked Hussein and Samar and invites them for “visits.” Hussein says, “They write down all that I say, but they have no proof; they have not caught me. Sometimes I think that they would like to catch me.”

  • That translation doesn’t include the source, author or date of the original article in Ha’aretz. However, it merely posits that the Shabak does this and then goes on to say the homosexuals in the story have actually not been affected or recruited by this supposed policy of the Israeli security services. Instead, it goes on to describe how he was actually caught by Palestinian men who interrogated him and beat him up.

    Do you have a better source?

  • that’s the only source for that piece. it’s from the Alternative Information Center, a joint Israeli-Palestinian group. it says the author is Liad Kantorowicz.

    this is from ASWAT, a Palestinian lesbian group:
    In the previous Intifada,as well as in the current one, Palestinian gays who escaped from their homes, found themselves working in the General Security Services in Israel ( Shabak ), where Shabak took advantage of their situation and manipulated them to cooperate with it; eventually Shabak returened a large number of them to the Palestinians where their rights were violated without any help.

    this is reuters from 2003:
    “As homosexuality is seen as a crime against nature, it is not hard to link it to collaboration—a crime against nation,” Eid added, lamenting what he called a “total lack” of support networks for gays in the West Bank and Gaza.

    Eid and Gonen said they knew of several Palestinian gays who had worked for Israeli intelligence in exchange for money or administrative favors including the right to live in Israel.

    One former Israeli handler of collaborators disputed this.

    “Gays are already treated with suspicion in Palestinian society,” said Menachem Landau, a veteran of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency. “So what good are they for covert work?”

  • BBC
    However, the Israeli secret service also often exploit gay Palestinians, said Mr Gonen.

    He says this usually involves coercing them into working undercover, to gather information about other Palestinians.

    The precarious status of the gay community means gay men often end up working for the secret service or as targets for exploitation by Israeli men.

    “They work as prostitutes, selling their bodies unwillingly because they have to survive,” said Mr Gonen.

    “Sometimes the Israeli secret police try to recruit them, sometimes the Palestinian police try to recruit them.

    “In the end they find themselves falling between all chairs. Nobody wants to help them, everybody wants to use them.”

  • Oh X. Here, read this:

    Perhaps the most surprising gay visitors to Israel are those from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Aguda organises Arabic gay evenings where gay Palestinians are invited to come and party with Israelis – and many take up the invitation. “We are their only hope,” he says. “If they came out where they live, they would be killed but they can come and party with us in Israel.”

    Mahmoud (not his real name) is a 19-year-old gay Israeli Arab from a small town outside Tel Aviv. He is enormously grateful to mainstream Israel for its gay-friendliness. “I cannot be open at all in the town where I live,” he sighs, “because it is a predominantly Arab town.” What would happen if you came out in the town you live in, I ask. “Very, very bad things,” he says and refuses to elaborate.

    However, the gay scene of Tel Aviv offers him a haven. “I can come here and be myself,” he smiles. “This is a lifesaver for me.” He insists he has never faced hostility on the Tel Aviv gay scene because of his Arab roots.

    At the very least, there are resources and support networks for Gay Palestinians in Israel. Not everyone is out to exploit them and the situation in Israel is far better in Israel, by several orders of magnitude, than it is anywhere in the Arab world. is it perfect? I never claimed it was – there are still very few if any places where the situation for any LGBT individuals is perfect. But this does not change the status of Israel as a relative oasis of peace and security for Palestinian gays.

  • I’m sorry, x, but your links were interesting…and inconclusive about any form of “abuse” of gay Palestinians by Israel. On the contrary. I don’t know exactly what you expect for them. They’re allowed to flee and live inside Israel.