Rally for Tolerance to be held in Jerusalem after stabbings at Pride

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A Rally for Tolerance is to be held in Jerusalem tomorrow, one month on from the murder of a 16-year-old girl at the city’s Pride parade.

16-year-old Shira Banki was killed and five others were wounded, after an ultra-Orthadox Jewish man went on a stabbing rampage during Jerusalem’s Pride parade. Shira Banki died on August 2, after days battling for her life following the attack.

Yishai Schlissel was arrested and charged over the attack – but it later emerged he had been released from prison just three weeks before the attack, after serving a sentence for attacking the same parade in 2005.

One month on, equality activists in Jerusalem plan to hold a Rally for Tolerance in the city, to show they will not be intimidated by violence.

LGBTQ community centre the Jerusalem Open House (JOH) is staging the protest tomorrow evening, at 8 PM in Safra Square – outside City Hall in central Jerusalem.

The Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, is among the speakers set to attend and speak out against the brutal attacks, alongside cultural figures and religious leaders from across the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths.

According to a release, the event has been fully coordinated with Shira Banki’s family, with assistance from the Jerusalem Municipality.

Executive Director of JOH Sarah Kala-Meir said: “The winds of hatred and racism have spread through Jerusalem since the stabbing, and have made it clear that we cannot stand idle anymore.

“We are all victims of this violence and all have a shared responsibility in stopping it. In this rally we are not looking to hear more empty words – we want to hear what has been done over the last month, and what will change in the coming years.”

There have been calls for LGBT equality legislation to be pushed through following the attack – with proposed ‘Shira Banki’ laws recommending vast reforms to allow civil recognition of same-sex unions, ban ‘gay conversion’ therapy, bolster education programmes on equality issues, and introduce more supervision for those convicted of hate crimes.

A statement from JOH said: “A month after the hate crime against our community, which took the life of Shira Banki, wounded 5 others and scared all those who believe in freedom and peace, we are still determined to create a new reality in our city.

“The scars and trauma have not yet healed, but our mission in society has remained the same; to build trust and love between us and maintain our fragile coexistence, which the murdered tried to destroy.”

Schlissel is facing charges of premeditated murder, six counts of attempted murder, and aggravated assault.