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Foremost Progressive Zionist Group Leads LGBT Tour for Jerusalem World Pride 2006

Washington, D.C. The New Israel Fund (NIF), the leading funder and founder of progressive civil society in Israel , is leading a special LGBT tour in Israel August 2-11, including participation in the World Pride events in Jerusalem . NIF was the first funder of Jerusalem Open House, Israel's leading gay rights organization and lead organizer of Jerusalem World Pride, and has worked in Israel for 27 years for civil and human rights, social and economic justice, and religious pluralism and tolerance.

The August tour balances sight-seeing and tourist fun with serious exploration of the issues confronting Israel . Participants will meet with grassroots activists in the LGBT community, civil rights lawyers, Members of Knesset, academics, writers and artists who are shaping modern Israeli life. The tour includes stops in Tel Aviv, the Galilee, and the Negev and ends in Jerusalem.

Hagai El-Ad, chief executive of Jerusalem Open House, recently said: "The message sent from Jerusalem WorldPride will echo throughout the world, redefining our community's identity, faith and vision."

"In these times of intolerance and conflict, this is a historical opportunity to proclaim the moral values of our community from the home of three of the world's great religions. We encourage LGBT leaders, community members and our allies from around the world to attend."

Bruce Temkin, director of NIF's New York office and a leader of the tour, said, "We at the New Israel Fund were the first to recognize and support the needs of Israel's LGBT community – a community that should be applauded for its enormous accomplishments in civil rights. We urge Americans and Canadians to join us for an event that will send a worldwide signal about Israel 's progress and about the work that remains to be done."

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$250 million to Israeli social change groups since 1979.