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Tens of thousands party at Israel gay pride parade, largest of its kind in Middle East

Tens of thousands of people in Israel are taking part in an annual gay pride parade, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld gave the crowd estimate for the event Friday, as shirtless men, drag queens and others marched through Tel Aviv.

Music blasted along the parade's route that was thick with people dancing to the music and waving flags.

Tel Aviv is one of the few places in the Middle East where gays feel free to walk hand-in-hand and kiss in public.

Gays serve openly in Israel's military and parliament and enjoy a variety of family rights, such as inheritance and survivor's benefits. However, leaders of the gay community say Israel still has far to go in promoting equality.