Shock, tears as Israeli teen dies after gay Pride attack


Shira Banki

A teenage girl who was stabbed by an anti-gay religious fanatic at Jerusalem Pride last week has died.

Jerusalem Open House, organisers of the Pride march, announced on Sunday that 16-year-old Shira Banki had tragically succumbed to her injuries at the Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital.

Banki was one of six people stabbed on Thursday by Yishai Shlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, at the parade. He had recently been released from prison after being jailed for ten years for a similar but less deadly attack on Pride participants in 2005.

Two other victims of the stabbing rampage remain under medical care but are expected to recover.

Banki, who attended Pride in solidarity with her LGBT friends, is survived by her parents and three siblings, reported Haaretz.

“Our magical Shira was murdered because she was a happy 16-year-old – full of life and love – who came to express her support for her friends’ rights to live as they choose,” said her family in a statement.

“For no good reason and because of evil, stupidity and negligence, the life of our beautiful flower was cut short. Bad things happen to good people, and a very bad thing happened to our amazing girl. The family expresses hope for less hatred and more tolerance.”

Jerusalem Open House said on Facebook that it and the LGBTQ community were in mourning after Banki’s death “at the hands of a fanatic, consumed with hatred and fear.”

The group added: “The knife that fatally injured Shira was sharpened by years of incitement. That knife targeted all those who believe in a just society, where every woman and man can live freely, without fear of violence and persecution. That knife has wounded all those who believe in life and in God’s creation.”

A vigil was held in Jerusalem on Sunday in memory of Shira Banki (Pic: Facebook / Jerusalem Open House)

A vigil was held in Jerusalem on Sunday in memory of Shira Banki (Pic: Facebook / Jerusalem Open House)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Banki died “because she bravely supported everyone’s right to live their life in dignity and security.”

A rally was held on Sunday in Jerusalem against both Banki’s stabbing and the death of a Palestinian toddler in a West Bank arson attack.

Isarel’s Ministry of Education announced that it will provide support to Banki’s friends at her school in Jerusalem.

Schlissel appeared in court on Friday following the attack and was pronounced sane and fit to stand trial.

“I do not accept this court’s authority,” said Schlissel at the hearing. “This court does not follow the rules of the holy Torah. This court is part of the mechanism of evil. I have no interest in cooperating at all. I do not recognise any of the regime’s institutions.”

Question have been asked how the killer was allowed to repeat his violent crime, despite showing no remorse and continuing to publish homophobic anti-Pride literature after his release from prison.

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