Jerusalem mayor snubs memorial Pride parade to avoid ‘upsetting’ religious groups

The Mayor of Jerusalem has snubbed an invite to the city’s Pride parade – one year on from the murder of a 16-year-old at the event.

16-year-old Shira Banki was killed and five others were wounded last July, after an ultra-Orthadox Jewish man Yishai Schlissel went on a stabbing spree during Jerusalem’s Pride parade last year.

Schlissel was jailed for life plus 31 years for the attack.

In an open letter earlier this month, Banki’s parents urged the whole Jerusalem community to come forward and march in solidarity at this year’s Pride on Thursday.
Jerusalem mayor snubs memorial Pride parade to avoid ‘upsetting’ religious groups
They wrote: “After Shira’s murder, there were many voices saying that even though they don’t agree with the way of life LGTBQ community members live, they still cannot accept violence as a legitimate demonstration of disagreement.

“To all of these voices, and everyone who feels and thinks that way- we except to see you march this year and in the next years to come.

“Marching on Jerusalem’s Pride March is not just about showing support to the LGTBQ community, it is also about supporting ideas of tolerance and equality for all.

“To us it also means standing in resistance to violence as a way of solving any dispute or argument.”

But the Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat has confirmed he still has no plans to attend the event, despite the call from the Banki family.

According to Jerusalem Post, he explained he “won’t march because I don’t want to be part of the harm” to those offended by the parade.

He said: “Tolerance is not just letting people march; it’s also looking for the way to get what you want without offending others opinions, or others feelings.

“In Jerusalem, there’s a large population who has a really hard time with the parade.

“I don’t want to harm that [religious] population.

“As mayor, I represent everyone, and therefore I’m on the side of the heads of the community and their rights, and I’ll do everything to facilitate their realising them.”

Opposition figures slammed the Likud politician for his stance.

Sadiq Khan, the pro-LGBT Muslim Mayor of London, attracted international praise for leading his city’s Pride parade last month.

The Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance is set to take place tomorrow.