Yishai Schlissel arrested after stabbing six people at the Jerusalem gay pride parade.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The trial of Yishai Schlissel, accused of murder and six counts of attempted murder at the July 30, 2015, Gay Pride Parade in the capital, opened Sunday in the Jerusalem District Court.
He allegedly killed 16-yearold Shira Banki and wounded six others, who were named as Yarden Noy, Kfir Gil, Noam Eyal, Yael Belkin, Sagiv Satkolshtick and Sheli Bar Niv.
Schlissel, 41, who previously served 10 years in Ma’asiyahu prison for stabbing three people at the 2005 Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade, was arrested during the stabbing rampage, just weeks after being released from prison.
The stabbings horrified the country, garnering across the board condemnation from Israeli society including from Orthodox religious figures.
(Stabbing victim Shira Banki/Facebook)
The prosecution’s first witness against Schlissel, Eran Tzidkiyahu, testified about having witnessed Schlissel’s carnage. He stated that if the attacker had not been haredi, he would have been shot on the spot as soon as security noticed he was holding a knife.
Tzidkiyahu said, “a month and a half later, every person who unsheathes a knife, they shoot him even after he ceases to present a threat to civilians.”
In his opening statement, Schlissel’s lawyer, public defender Zecharyah Shinkolovsk, argued that his client had not intended to murder the people he attacked, even if he intended to harm them.
Prosecution lawyer Oshrat Shoham disputed this argument, noting that Schlissel has not given a detailed written denial to his indictment.
She said the prosecution intends to call witnesses showing Schlissel’s attack was committed with intent to murder.
At the arraignment in September, Schlissel continued a position of refusing to recognize the court’s authority, stating “God, the creator of the world, did not give you authority to judge me, and so I am not interested in asking questions or responding to them.”
When the court asked him to stand – as is customary when addressing the court – he refused, and stated, “I am not interested in getting up.”
Despite Schlissel’s continued refusal to agree to have the Public Defender’s Office represent him, or to accept any legal representation, the court in September ordered the public defender present to continue to speak for him in court.
Schlissel has refused legal representation since he considers that it would be an acknowledgment of the validity of the court proceedings against him.
The indictment stated that leading up to the parade, Schlissel had called on ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem and Modi’in Illit to take action against it, and that on the day of the parade he purchased a 15-cm.-long kitchen knife for the purpose of stabbing participants.
Schlissel’s first attempt at infiltrating the parade was prevented by police. Gaining entry from a different street, he launched his attack.