Jerusalem Pride celebration turns tragic when marchers are attacked

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What was supposed to be a day of celebration for the Israeli LGBTQ community ended in a tragedy when a man named Ishay Shliser attacked the marchers in the Jerusalem Pride Parade earlier today.

Shliser managed to stab six people with a knife before he was caught and disarmed. The injured were evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital, two of them in critical condition. One of them is a 17-year-old girl. It was later reported that she was stabilized.

In the past there were many protests at the Pride parades, but ultra-Orthodox Rabbis asked that those would cease in an effort to not expose the community to the marchers. Sadly, some extremists ignored the order and still appear in the parade every year, labeling it “The Abomination Parade.”

Shliser took the protests one step further. Officers who saw him lurking told him to leave, witnesses say, but he hid in a supermarket until eventually running towards the marchers to commit his crime.

Jerusalempride1The Jerusalem Pride Parade, started as a day of celebration and ended in a tragedy

What is astonishing is that Shliser committed the exact same crime back in 2005, injuring three people. In 2006, he was sent to prison for 12 years for attempted murder, a sentence that was shortened and led to his release merely one month ago.

Six Stabbed In Jerusalem Gay Pride ParadeIshay Shliser in custody.

Adi, a transgender woman who witnessed the event, told Israeli news portal Ynet she saw her friend get stabbed. “It was a shocking, horrifying sight that doesn’t honor any religion in the world,” she said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven (Rubi) Rivlin and many other politicians (some of them religious) were quick to condemn the crime, promising to do whatever it takes to bring the Shliser to justice. But social media is full of frustrated citizens who raise pressing questions like why Shliser was released early. Why wasn’t the security of the event more efficient? How is it possible that a man managed to commit the same horrible crime twice? People are calling for major changes at the top of the Israeli police force.

Members of the LGBTQ community gathered in a park in Jerusalem in solidarity of the day’s events. Heidi Mozes, an out Orthodox lesbian and the daughter of Orthodox member of Israeli Parliament, Menachem Eliezer Mozes, said at the gathering, “The feeling right now is one of shock. This is not the Torah.” She meant that this is not what the Torah is about.

The more our society makes strides towards equality, the safer we feel. We shouldn’t be afraid to go out and celebrate who we are, yet there are still people in this world who want us to be scared. Sometimes we forget that we’re still in the midst of a battle for our rights to exist like any other person, to be entitled to the same treatment. But there’s always a price to pay when it comes to battles and today the Israeli LGBTQ community was reminded of that reality in the worst way imaginable.