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‘We stayed silent… no more’: Israeli MP comes out after Pride stabbings

Gareth Williams July 31, 2015

An Israeli politician has come out as gay, following a violent attack at the Jerusalem Pride Parade.

Six people were injured at the Pride march in Jerusalem yesterday, after a knife-wielding man launched an attack. A Haredi man,  Yishai Shlissel, was named as the suspected perpetrator, and has been taken into custody by police.

Following the harrowing attack, MK Itzik Shmuli of the centre-left Zionist Union party came out as gay in a column for Hebrew-language newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

According to the Times of Israel, he wrote: “The knife was raised against my community. We stayed silent; I stayed silent. No more.

“We can no longer remain silent because the knife was raised high on the neck of the entire LGBT community, my community – it will not stop there.

“A terrible criminal act happened again in the city of God, attacking all of us. It attacks the right of us all to be different, to make our own choices, accept our differences and accommodate each other.

“Israeli society is wounded, stabbed in the stomach… it loses its compassion for other people just because they are different. It loses its acceptance of others.”

Attacker Yishai Schlissel claimed in a letter ahead of the stabbings: “It is the obligation of every Jew to keep his soul from punishment and stop this giant desecration of God’s name next Thursday.

“Once again, the evildoers want to have a parade of sin and of all places, in Jerusalem — city of the king of kings blessed be he — in order to defile its holiness and desecrate its holy name on Thursday. They are always looking for ways to desecrate God’s name even more.”

Schlissel was released from prison three weeks ago after serving 10 years for a similar incident.

Two of the victims from the stabbings, a teenage girl and a 26-year old man are still in serious condition.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, has spoken out to condemn the stabbing.

 

Mr Shmuli is a member of the Israeli Parliament, which has repeatedly failed to introduce civil marriage for both gay and straight couples.

The country’s Equal Employment Law already outlaws discrimination in work based on sexual orientation – but anti-discrimination legislation is still patchwork, with gender identity not included.

Same-sex marriages from overseas are recognised in Israel – but only Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Druze religious authorities can perform marriages inside Israel, and none offer gay couples the chance to marry.

More: coming out, Israel, Israel, Itzik Schmuli, Jerusalem, Middle East, MK Itzik Shmuli, politcs, politician, Pride, Stabbings

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