I’m sure you remember the shocking attack that took place at Jerusalem Pride last year, which sadly cost 16-year-old Shira Banki her life.
What made this horrid attack even worse, is that shortly after the culprit Yishai Schlissel was arrested, we found out that he had just been released from prison three weeks prior after committing a similar crime at Jerusalem Pride 2005. It doesn’t stop there, though, as apparently police were aware of public threats Schlissel made to attack the Parade.
So while this senseless loss of life, as well as the injury and trauma to the other attendees, could have been prevented we now finally have a resolution. Today, Yishai Schlissel was convicted of murder and six counts of attempted murder.
Things have taken a while to sort out, thanks to Schlissel complicating proceedings over his repeated refusal of counsel.
At one point in the hearing, he shouted: “The pride parade must be stopped in order for the soul of Shira Banki to ascend to heaven. If you care for her well being … you must stop cursing against God. The parade marchers are bringing great harm upon the nation of Israel.”
Tom Canning of LGBT center Jerusalem Open House had this to say: “Nothing can heal the immense pain we still feel following this vicious attack and death of a innocent girl Shira Banki. Our community still carry’s the trauma and fear of violence from the events of that day. I hope that Schlissel will receive the maximum penalty, which will perhaps contribute to our healing process.”
“We are reminded during time of the importance of continued education and advocacy to create a city where all people feel welcome and safe, including LGBT people. We are already preparing for Jerusalem Pride March on July 21st, 2016, and proudly continue to promote tolerance and unconditional love in Israel.”
Sadly it seems that no comments have been made about the lack of monitoring of Schlissel before the attacks, or why the police did not act on this threats given his previous crimes. While it’s great to have a resolution with this conviction, Shira might still be alive had the authorities been more vigilant.
Let’s hope that this year’s Jerusalem Pride is both successful and uneventful.