A religious protester stabbed six people at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade on July 30. That protester has been named in Israel as Yishai Schlissel. He’s just been released from prison after being jailed for committing a similar attack at the same parade in 2005.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. At Least 2 of the Stabbing Victims Are in Serious Condition
The Jerusalem Post reports that six people were stabbed and that two of them are in serious condition. In a brief statement to YNet News, local police said “The stabber is known to us, an investigation is underway, and we will study the incident.”
2. In 2005, He Told Police He Was Willing to ‘Kill in the Name of God’
In 2005, Schlissel told police that he was planning “to kill in the name of God” and that “such abomination cannot exist in Israel,” reported the BBC. He was later convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 12 years in prison. During that attack, police said that Schlissel dodged in between marchers, stabbing at random until he was pinned down by the police.
3. Times Are Changing in Israel, Back in 2005, the Gay Pride Parade Was Opposed by Even the Mayor of Jerusalem
Gay Pride events in Israel regularly draw protests from Jews, Muslims and Christians in the country, reports YNet News. In their report on the 2005 stabbings, the BBC noted that that march had been opposed by the mayor of Jerusalem at the time. The city council had even banned that march until a court overturned the decision and the Pride festival went ahead. The following year, the efforts to put on the 2006 parade were featured in the documentary film Jerusalem is Proud to Present.
4. When He Was Sentenced in 2006, Schlissel Refused to Stand When the Verdict Was Read Out
When he was sentenced in 2006, Schlissel sat down in court, refusing the judge’s orders to stand. Judge Zvi Segal told him at the time “I’m talking to you and therefore you’ll stand, you are starting to show contempt of court. During sentencing the accused showed contempt of court repeatedly and refused to stand when asked to do so.” YNet News reported that the Jerusalem District Attorney later added that charge to Schlissel’s rap sheet. The accused even refused the pleas of his family, who were in court, to stand up and respect the court. After the verdict was handed down, Schlissel’s attorney told the media:
This is a wrongful verdict; it’s hard to ignore from the clear public pressure that was applied without end on the judges within the hall and outside of it, which influenced the judges’ decision. For all of our good, its best that this verdict not remain as it is.
5. There Has Been Wall-to-Wall Condemnation of the Attack in Israel
According to the BBC, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attack “contradicted the country’s basic values.” In a statement the PM said:
In the state of Israel the individual’s freedom of choice is one of basic values. We must ensure that in Israel, every man and woman lives in security in any way they choose. That’s how we acted in the past and how we’ll continue to act. I wish the wounded a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin said:
We came together today for a festive event, but the joy was shattered when a terrible hate crime occurred here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. People celebrating their freedom and expressing their identity were viciously stabbed.
We must not be deluded, a lack of tolerance will lead us to disaster. We cannot allow such crimes, and we must condemn those who commit and support them. I wish the injured a full and speedy recovery.
While Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said “We are talking about an extremely severe incident. The personal responsible for this act will be brought to justice.”