Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged unity on the day of Jerusalem Pride – one year on from the murder of a 16-year-old.
The city’s Pride parade takes place today, with thousands taking to the streets of Jerusalem one year on from a deadly attack at the parade.
16-year-old Shira Banki was killed and five others were wounded last July, after an ultra-Orthadox Jewish man Yishai Schlissel went on a stabbing spree during Jerusalem’s Pride parade last year.
Schlissel was jailed for life plus 31 years for the attack, and Banki’s parents had called on the entire community to rally round Pride this year.
In a video posted to Facebook, Mr Netanyahu said: “Today is Jerusalem’s gay pride parade. There’s been some controversy over this parade, so I want to share with you my perspective.
“Loving someone should never mean a life of fear or terror.
“For too long, the LGBT community around the world has faced violence and intimidation.
“Weeks ago, dozens of members of the LGBT community were gunned down in Orlando by a terrorist with a fanatic ideology.
“We’ve all seen the horrific pictures of ISIS throwing gays off rooftops.
“And the Iranian regime hangs them from cranes in public squares. This is nothing short of insanity.
“Surrounding us are regimes who literally murder you for being gay.
“In Israel, the LGBT community marches with pride.
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“My unwavering belief is that all people are created equal.
“This principle of equality is why 16 year-old Shira Banki marched in the parade last year and it’s why thousands of you are marching today.
“Shira was murdered by an extremist filled with hate. And this hatred has no place whatsoever in Israeli society.
“We will always fight against it. Sadly, some elements of our society are still not yet ready to accept the LGBT community.
“My solemn promise to you today is to continue fostering respect for all of Israel’s citizens, without exception.
“Whether you are marching today or not, I ask you to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community.
“We will not let hate drown out acceptance.
“Dignity, respect, acceptance.
“These are the values that will triumph.”