A hospital spokeswoman has confirmed that the teenage girl stabbed by an anti-gay extremist, Yishai Schlissel, in last week’s attack has died.
Shira Banki, 16, was one of six people stabbed Thursday during a Jerusalem’s Pride parade.
Banki died of her injuries Sunday at Hadar Elboim of Hadassah hospital. Her organs will be donated.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, released a statement assuring Banki’s family that her killer would be brought to justice.
Shira was murdered because she bravely supported the principle that each one can live their life in honor and security. We will not allow this despicable killer to undermine the core values that Israeli society is based upon.
We contemptuously denounce his actions of hate and violence. We will do everything in our power to bring this killer to face justice.”
Schlissel was released three weeks ago after serving 10 years in prison for a previous attack at the same parade in 2005.
Upon being released, he had returned to his hometown, where he began distributing “hand-written pamphlets in which he called on ‘all Jews faithful to God’ to risk ‘beatings and imprisonment’ for the sake of preventing the parade.”
As an estimated 5,000 people gathered to mark the annual Pride celebration with a parade through the streets of Jerusalem, Schlissel approached marchers on Keren Hayesod Street and began screaming, then pulled a knife from his coat and began stabbing his victims.
Haaretz notes that a police officer was able to tackle the suspect and arrest him.
According to the newspaper Maariv, Schlissel wrote a letter ahead of the attack saying:
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.”
In response to the stabbings, Israeli lawmaker Itzik Shmuli came out as gay in an op-ed published Friday in a Hebrew-language daily, Yedioth Ahronoth.
We cannot be silent any longer. We cannot be silent any longer because the knife is raised on the entire LGBT community — my community — and it won’t stop there. This is the time to fight the great darkness.”
Under heavy police protection, the Jerusalem Open House – which also runs the city’s LGBT community centre – held a mass peace rally in Jerusalem city centre on Saturday night.
Under the slogan “Love Alway Wins” the rally is being held to promote tolerance and acceptance in the wake of the attack.
Sarah Kala, Executive Director of Jerusalem Open House, said:
We are here in Jerusalem, and we will stay in Jerusalem. Against violence – we will protest, against incitement – we will educate, against hatred – we will love.”
Leading ultra-orthodox leaders have since spoken out to condemn the attacks, with Israel’s Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef asking the Jewish people to stand together in “kindness and tolerance.”
The Torah of the Jewish people forbids all violence and [efforts to] injure any person, and especially someone who tries to kill another person.”
It’s unthinkable that a man can lift up his hand against another Jewish soul in the name of religion. I am praying from the bottom of my heart for the full recovery of those who were injured, and in the face of this type of hatred I call on the entire Jewish people to return to unity in kindness and tolerance.”