No injuries were reported during the Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance, though heavily armed police officers arrested 30 protestors and confiscated two knives. During the 2015 parade, a radical ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jew stabbed 16-year-old Shira Banki to death and attempted to kill seven others.
Yishai Schlissel was convicted of murder and attempted murder and sentenced last month to life in prison plus 31 years. But even from prison, Schlissel allegedly asked others to carry out attacks on the LGBTQ community on his behalf. The Jerusalem Post reports:
Hours before the parade began at Liberty Bell Park, police announced that Schlissel – who stabbed Banki, 16, and six others, days after being released from prison for committing a similar crime 10 years earlier – was rearrested for conspiring with his brother to carry out more attacks from prison.
Last year’s tragedy brought new people to the parade, ranging from straight seniors to LGBTQ and straight teens and a gay Jewish couple from New York who showed up at the behest of LGBTQ Israelis.
“As an Orthodox person, I should be supporting this parade and supporting the rights of gay people and equality in Israel – especially after the horrible murder of Shira Banki,” Yoav, a 19-year-old straight Orthodox Jew told the Jerusalem Post while wearing a yalmuka and gay pride T-shirt. “I see it as my religious duty to be here and support the [LBGT] community….As a religious person, I think it’s your duty to support every minority group, and to help them get equality.”
Not present at the parade was Jerusalem’s mayor, who some criticized for skipping the parade, due to religious concerns.