When Michal Eden was elected to the Tel Aviv - Jaffa city council in 1998, she became the first openly gay elected official in Israel. She has campaigned for gay causes, including the founding of Israel's first hostel serving homeless and runaway lesbian and gay youth.
Michal had snagged the second slot on the Meretz party list in the primary election thanks to strong support from the gay community - and the party then won four spots in the general election, giving Eden her seat.
Her family found out she is a lesbian when she was 20 years old and had just broken up with her first girlfriend. Michal's father made things clear: if she did not change, any contact that she would want to make with her family would be subject to his approval. And he would not approve unless she changed.
She left hom - all she had was a backpack full of folded clothes, and was looking for shelter. she wandered from one friend's house to another, working at whatever jobs she found. Michal even contacted the Israel Gay and Lesbian Association and the Women's League House, looking for a place to stay - but in Tel Aviv in 1990, there was no solution.
But Michal was determined to live her life her own way, and didn't give up. She started to build a new family within the gay and lesbian community, went to college, and found a partner and moved in with her.
Michal's father didn't give up, either. As soon as he understood that she really was a lesbian, he began to harass her and to threaten her and her friends.
Michal chose to become involved in Israeli politics in order to change the situation still prevailing in Israel - the situation where, on an almost weekly basis, members of Knesset and Government ministers verbally attack lesbians and gays. For example, the Ministry of Health, Shlomo Benizri, from the Sephardic Orthodox Jewish party known as Shas, who suggested, at the time of the Gay Pride events, that gay/lesbian people should all be locked up in a psychiatric ward.