Anti-gay graffiti left at site of homophobic murder
Anti-gay graffiti has been left near the site where a 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death during a Pride parade.
16-year-old Shira Banki was killed at Jerusalem Pride in July 2015, when ultra-Orthadox Jewish man Yishai Schlissel went on a stabbing spree.
The killing was widely condemned in Israeli society, but this week homophobic graffiti was discovered scrawled on a wall near the site of the attack.
The Hebrew message quotes the condemnation of homosexuality in Leviticus, saying: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: It is abomination.”
Local LGBT group Jerusalem Open House condemned the message.
In a Facebook post it said: “At the same place where Shira Banki was murdered during the Pride march in 2015, today hateful writing was spray painted that was meant to set the stage for the next murder.”
The group said that there had been heightened tensions with “radical elements who try to silence the struggle” of LGBT people, citing a string of recent incidents.
JOH added: “No one will drive us out of the streets. No one has the right to question our lives. We continue with all our might. Do not give in to extremism or fear.
“We are here together and we will not let anyone hurt us!
“We expect the authorities to act strongly and swiftly against vandalism and threats to the security of the gay community in Jerusalem.”
City councilman Ofer Berkovitch tweeted: “The public space in Jerusalem must be tolerant and respectful.
“I will show zero tolerance for violations of the law, and I will take a hard hand against extremists on all sides who are trying to harm Jerusalem.
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“Jerusalem must be for everyone, or it cannot be.”
The Times of Israel reports that the graffiti was cleaned off the wall on Wednesday, and a police investigation was opened into the incident.
Banki’s death was marred by controversy as her killer, Yishai Schlissel, had only been released from prison weeks beforehand – after serving a sentence for a 2005 attack on the same Jerusalem Pride parade.
Schlissel had been known to police and made several public threats to the parade – leading to questions about why he was not stopped in advance.
2017’s Pride event saw a string of arrests amid a feared attack.
Jerusalem Pride will take place on August 2 this year.