Jerusalem square to be renamed in memory of girl murdered at Pride parade

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A public square in Jerusalem will be renamed in memory of a girl who was murdered last year at a Pride parade.

16-year-old Shira Banki was killed last summer, after an ultra-Orthadox Jewish man went on a stabbing rampage during Jerusalem’s Pride parade. Shira Banki died on August 2, after spending days fighting for her life.

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

Six months after the horrific attack took place, it was announced this week that a public square will be renamed in honour of Banki.

The city’s historic Zion Square is set to be entirely refurbished – and will be renamed Tolerance Square after the overhaul, which is intended to make it a beacon for love and tolerance.

A design for the new square will be judged by a panel including the girl’s mother Miki Banki – who will weigh in on proposals for the public space.

The square was the site of vigils held for Banki after the attack, with groups coming together across faith boundaries to condemn the violence.

Shira Katz Vinkler of the Yerushalmit Movement told the Times of Israel: “It became a place of coexistence.

“After the murder there was a feeling that we need to fix this, and we understood that it had to come from coexistence between the sectors.”

In the wake of the stabbings, a prominent Israeli politician came out as gay – saying he would no longer “stay silent”.

MK Itzik Shmuli wrote: The knife was raised against my community. We stayed silent; I stayed silent. No more.

“We can no longer remain silent because the knife was raised high on the neck of the entire LGBT community, my community – it will not stop there.

“A terrible criminal act happened again in the city of God, attacking all of us. It attacks the right of us all to be different, to make our own choices, accept our differences and accommodate each other.

“Israeli society is wounded, stabbed in the stomach… it loses its compassion for other people just because they are different. It loses its acceptance of others.”