Middle East

200,000 party in Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade, regions biggest

  • Israeli dancers perform during the annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, June 3, 2016. About 200,000 people from the LGBT community in Israel and abroad attended in Tel Aviv's annual gay pride parade Friday, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

    Israeli dancers perform during the annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, June 3, 2016. About 200,000 people from the LGBT community in Israel and abroad attended in Tel Aviv's annual gay pride parade Friday, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)  (The Associated Press)

  • People participate the annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, June 3, 2016. About 200,000 people from the LGBT community in Israel and abroad attended in Tel Aviv's annual gay pride parade Friday, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

    People participate the annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, June 3, 2016. About 200,000 people from the LGBT community in Israel and abroad attended in Tel Aviv's annual gay pride parade Friday, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)  (The Associated Press)

  • People dance during the annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, June 3, 2016. About 200,000 people from the LGBT community in Israel and abroad attended in Tel Aviv's annual gay pride parade Friday, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

    People dance during the annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, June 3, 2016. About 200,000 people from the LGBT community in Israel and abroad attended in Tel Aviv's annual gay pride parade Friday, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)  (The Associated Press)

Colorfully-dressed drag queens and bare-chested muscular men on floats are partying alongside thousands of others from the LGBT community at Tel Aviv's annual gay pride parade, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East.

Israeli media said 200,000 people joined the festivities Friday.

Israel is widely tolerant of gay people, and Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world's most gay-friendly travel destinations. The city stands in sharp contrast to much of the region, where people are persecuted and may even be killed because of their sexuality.

But homosexuality is often shunned in religiously observant Jewish and Muslim communities in Israel.

Jerusalem, known for its rich religious history, holds a modest pride parade. A radical ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed a girl to death at Jerusalem's parade in 2015.