Funeral to be held for Jerusalem Pride victim

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Shira Banki, who was fatally stabbed at the gay Pride parade in Jerusalem, will be laid to rest today.

The teen was one of six people stabbed on Thursday by an attacker police identified as Yishai Shlissel – an Orthodox Jew released from prison in June after serving 10 years for stabbing marchers at a 2005 gay pride parade.

“Our charming, happy, lively and beloved 16-year-old Shira was murdered just because she came to support her friends and any person’s right to live their life their own way,” Banki’s family said in a statement.

“With no purpose but with stupidity, evilness and recklessness, her life came to an end.”

Her funeral is scheduled to take place Monday evening in Kibbutz Nahshon, about an hour’s drive west of Jerusalem. It will be a private family affair and closed to the media, reports CNN.

The service takes place a day after Israel’s Prime Minister called on his people to “vigorously fight manifestations of hate.”

“Shira was murdered because she bravely supported the principle that each one can live their life in honour and security,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

President Reuven Rivlin said of the incident: “We came together today for a festive event, but the joy was shattered when a terrible hate crime occurred here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.

“People celebrating their freedom and expressing their identity were viciously stabbed. We must not be deluded, a lack of tolerance will lead us to disaster. We cannot allow such crimes, and we must condemn those who commit and support them.”

Those opposed to last weeks violence held a mass peace rally in Jerusalem city centre on Saturday night (August 1), organised by LGBT campaigners The Jerusalem Open Housed.

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.”