Jerusalem gay pride parade

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The Jerusalem gay pride parade is an annual pride parade taking place in Jerusalem. Since the first March for Pride and Tolerance in 2002, Jerusalem Pride—"Love Without Border"—has become an established event in Jerusalem, each year bringing in additional partners and supporters.[citation needed]

Twice, in 2005 and 2015, it was marred by violence as an ultra-Orthodox Jew[1] stabbed marchers with a knife, resulting in three injuries (2005) and in six injuries, one fatal (2015).[2][3] The man arrested was named as Yishai Schlissel who was jailed after the 2005 attack and was released from imprisonment three weeks before he attacked again in 2015.[4]


Since the 1990s an annual gay pride parade takes place in Tel Aviv, Israel and sometimes also in Eilat. Tel Aviv had previously been the venue for the only yearly gay pride parade in the Middle East.[citation needed] Tel Aviv was first city in Israel to have a gay pride parade, which started in the street of Shenkin and expanded to large-scale events in the following years. In 2005, 100,000 people participated in the Tel Aviv gay pride parade.

The Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance is the focal point of gay pride events in Jerusalem and has existed since 1997. Since 2002, it has held small annual gay pride parades in Jerusalem.

In 2007, the Israeli Knesset approved legislation to prevent gay pride parades in Jerusalem, and in response then-Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert's office released a statement that he "does not think that Jerusalem is the appropriate location for holding gay-pride parades due to the special sensitive nature of the city, although he believes that such matters should not be limited by law."[citation needed] The legislation was again introduced in 2008,[5] but again did not become law, and in June 2008 the Israeli High Court denied petitions to stop gay pride parades in Jerusalem,[6] and a parade was held in 2008 and in 2009.[7]

2005 attack[edit]

In 2005 a municipal ban attempted to halt the parade, but it was overturned by a district court order. Protesters, many of them religious Jews, lined the mile-long parade route shouting insults and displaying signs with messages like: "You are corrupting our children," and "Jerusalem is not San Francisco."[8] During the parade, Yishai Schlissel, a Haredi Jew, stabbed three parade participants with a kitchen knife. During a police interrogation, he described the motive behind his actions: "I came to murder on behalf of God. We can't have such abomination in the country."[9] The perpetrator was subsequently convicted of three counts of attempted murder and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The Jerusalem District Court also ordered that NIS 280 million (about USD 60 million) be paid as compensation to the victims.[10] Schlissel was released in 2015 and returned to the Pride Parade in 2015 to attack again.[11]

2006 demonstrations[edit]

In 2006 it was announced that the WorldPride event held each year in different capitals or large cities of the world will come to Jerusalem. The 22nd annual conference of InterPride was held in October 2003 in Montreal, Canada; with over 150 delegates from 51 cities from around the world in attendance, the conference voted to accept the bid of the Jerusalem Open House to host WorldPride 2006.[12]

The parade was scheduled for the 6th of August and received harsh objection from Israeli religious circles from the offshoot. It was eventually cancelled due to the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, but a week of events did take place as scheduled and included five conferences, a film festival, exhibitions, and literary and political events.[13] The parade itself was cancelled but the Jerusalem Open House announced that it would hold a parade on November 10 after reaching an agreement with the police and with the municipality.[14]

Crowd at a demonstration organized by the Edah HaChareidis. Jerusalem, 18 Oct. 2006.

Virulent opposition from Haredi and other Orthodox Jewish corners as well as from the Israeli Arab sector has led many to believe that unless the gay pride parade was canceled, a violent outcome would be unavoidable.[15] Others who came out against the parade include Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Amar[16] and MK Yitzhak Levy.[17]

The main opposition from the Haredi Jewish sector was organized by the Edah HaChareidis rabbinical organization. On 18 October, Rabbis from across the Orthodox spectrum called for the parade to be forbidden. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who was one of the first to express his opposition, called for a "demonstration of a million".

Well-known right-wing activists Baruch Marzel, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Hillel Weiss called for a 'holy war' against the parade and announced that unless the parade were cancelled, it would lead to violence.[18][19] The organizers of the parade filed a police complaint against them, accusing them of incitement to murder.[20]

On the night of Thursday 2 November, a demonstration in Meah Shearim led to rioting. Thousands of protesters blocked roads with burning garbage cans, and police responded in force, sending hundreds of Yassam riot police and Border Police armed with batons, water cannons and horses.[citation needed] Seven policemen and an unknown number of protestors were wounded.[citation needed] Haredi spokesmen strongly spoke out against the police for using an "excessive level of violence".[citation needed]

The organizers, of the Jerusalem Open House organization made plans to deal with contingencies including multiple wounded and dead.[21] However, the parade was eventually held with no casualties. [1]

2015 attack[edit]

On 30 July 2015, only three weeks after being released, Yishai Schlissel stabbed six marchers during the Jerusalem gay pride parade.[22][23] The act was widely condemned,[24] including by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[25] One of the victims, 16-year-old Shira Banki, died of her wounds at the Hadassah Medical Center three days later, on 2 August 2015.[26][27] Shortly after, Prime Minister Netanyahu offered his condolences, adding "We will deal with the murderer to the fullest extent of the law."[26] Schlissel's mother, Rivka, expressed her sorrow over her son actions and expressed solidarity with the victims saying "We regret this very much and pray for the immediate recovery of the victims".[28][29] An investigation was launched to examine the failure of identify Schlissel, who was recently released, as a threat.[30]

In film[edit]

Two films have been made about this event. Nitzan Giladi directed the 80-minute documentary Jerusalem Is Proud to Present, and Chutzpa Productions produced a 45-minute documentary short titled Pride.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ISABEL KERSHNER The New York Times Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Stabs 6 at a Gay Pride Parade for Second Time, Police Say JULY 30, 2015
  2. ^ BBC News Jerusalem Gay Pride: Israel teenage stabbing victim dies 8/2/2015
  3. ^ Oren Liebermann and Jason Hanna, CNN 16-year-old gay pride marcher dies from stab wounds in Jerusalem August 2, 2015
  4. ^ Miriam Berger, The Associated Press Repeat attacker hits pride parade in Jerusalem: Ultra-Orthodox Jew who allegedly stabbed six had been jailed for 2005 incident August 2, 2015
  5. ^ MK Zeev: Gay 'plague' could destroy Israel, YNet News, January 29, 2008
  6. ^ Court rejects rightists' petition against Jerusalem gay parade, YNet News, June 28, 2008
  7. ^ Jerusalem Gay Pride parade takes place in quieter atmosphere June 28, 2009
  8. ^ Matthew Kalman (1 July 2005). "Jerusalem's gay pride marchers attacked / 3 participants stabbed, 13 protesters arrested as ultra-Orthodox crowd tries to halt parade". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  9. ^ "Israeli man faces attempted murder charges for stabbing three gay pride marchers". Wikinews. [unreliable source?]
  10. ^ Tal Rosner (8 February 2006). "Gay Parade stabber gets 12 years in prison". Ynetnews. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  11. ^ Oren Liebermann; Jason Hanna (31 July 2015). "Repeat attacker stabs 6 at Jerusalem gay pride parade, police say". CNN. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Holy war against pride parade - Israel News, Ynetnews
  16. ^ Chief rabbi: All Jews must act towards cancellation of Jerusalem pride march... - Israel News, Ynetnews
  17. ^ Ynet, 07.04.06
  18. ^ Baruch Marzel: Pride parade will lead to violence - Israel News, Ynetnews
  19. ^ Marzel declares 'holy war' against gay parade - Israel News, Ynetnews
  20. ^ Gay group files complaint for incitement to murder - Israel News, Ynetnews
  21. ^ Gays plan for disaster scenarios at J'lem parade - Israel News, Ynetnews
  22. ^ Six stabbed at Jerusalem pride parade by same assailant who attacked parade in 2005, The Times of Israel, July 30, 2015
  23. ^ Jerusalem Gay Pride: Six stabbed 'by ultra-Orthodox Jew', BBC News, July 30, 2015
  24. ^ "Yishai Schlissel: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". July 10, 2015. 
  25. ^ Stuart Winer, After attack on pride parade, PM condemns ‘despicable hate crime’, The Times of Israel, July 30, 2015
  26. ^ a b Joe Williams, Victim of Jerusalem Pride attack dies of injuries, PinkNews, August 2, 2015
  27. ^ Kubovich, Yaniv (August 2, 2015). "16-year-old stabbed in Jerusalem pride parade succumbs to wounds". Haaretz. Retrieved August 2, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Stabber's Mother Expresses Sorrow for Son's Deed". Arutz 7. August 4, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Schlissel's mother: We apologize to the Banki's for Shira's murder". Walla! news. August 4, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Israel Police to Probe Failure to Monitor Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Assailant". Haaretz. July 31, 2015.