Teen Killed at Jerusalem Pride Remembered as Believer in Equality and Tolerance
Shira Banki, the 16-year-old girl who died of the knife wounds she received at Jerusalem’s LGBT Pride parade Thursday, is being remembered as a youth “full of life and love” and dedicated to the principles of tolerance and equality.
“Our Shira was murdered simply because of the fact that she was a happy 16-year-old girl, full of life and love, who came to support her friends and everyone else’s right to live as they please,” her family told The Jerusalem Post.
Banki died Sunday at Hadar Elboim of Hadassah hospital. The high school student was one of six people stabbed at Thursday’s parade. The man charged with the attack is Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew who was convicted of stabbing three people at a Jerusalem Pride parade in 2005. He was released from prison three weeks ago after serving 10 years for that attack.
Funeral services for Banki were held Monday at Kibbutz Nachshon, west of Jerusalem. Her parents, Uri and Mika, eulogized her as “an intelligent, beautiful, intelligent, gentle, curious, musical girl,” according to The Times of Israel.
“All of her innocence, beauty, happiness and goodness fell on the altar of hatred, malice, cruelty, and ignorance,” they continued. “We are left with pain, longing, and shock that every parent would rather die than feel.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also spoke of Banki at an event for students, the Times reports. She was “a girl of principles,” he said. “She joined the parade in the name of the values in which she believed — tolerance, equality, hope, and love. The battle against incitement and hatred does not begin and end with police protection — silence and indifference to both real and virtual threats will only increase the danger.” The president has received death threats himself because of his condemnation of violence by extremists, the paper notes.
Many Israelis are saying Jerusalem police could and should have done more to prevent the parade attack, according to the Times. Since Schlissel’s release from prison, he had circulated handwritten pamphlets containing antigay screeds and had given at least one interview calling for extreme action to stop the parade, hinting that he would attack again.
In a pamphlet, he described the parade as “blasphemous” and said participants “march for abomination,” the Times reports. “It is incumbent upon every Jew to risk beatings or imprisonment and together to stop the desecration for the sanctity of His name. If we refrain from declaring war, they’ll feel free to spread this shame all over the world,” the pamphlet continued. In an interview on an ultra-Orthodox radio station, he said it was worth “doing something extreme” to stop the Jerusalem parade.
Jerusalem Police Chief Moshe Edri has taken responsibility for failure to protect the parade but said he will not resign, the Times reports. National security authorities have set up a task force to investigate the handling of the matter.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Friday found Schlissel fit to stand trial. He refused legal counsel and said he did not recognize the court’s authority because it does not comply with Jewish law.