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Saar-Ran Netanel
(1972 - living) Israel

Saar-Ran Netanel

Businessman

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In 2003, Saar Netanel, a Jerusalem city council member and member of the Meretz Party, became the first openly gay man elected to a city council in Israel.

He opened the Shushan Pub, the only one for Jerusalem's gay and lesbian community.

"Shushan is the only place in Israel where the Haredi [ultra-Orthodox], Arabs, religious and secular could sit together and have a good time. When they left Shushan, each returned to his own ghetto."

The bar was not always allowed to operate unhindered. in 2004, arsonists torched the pub, and every year, with the approach of the gay pride parade, extra police patrols guarded Shushan's clientele.

On the other hand, Saar admitted that despite the animosity directed at members of the gay and lesbian community regarding the gay pride parade, Shushan was generally tolerated by Jerusalem residents. But some patrons say Shushan had not managed to increase acceptance - let alone friendliness.

Finally, after four years in operation, his pub has closed down.

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