Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a number of politicians from across the political spectrum spoke out in firm condemnation of the stabbing of six people at Jerusalem's gay pride parade on Thursday.
The assailant, an ultra-Orthodox man, was arrested. According to MDA, six people were wounded in the incident that took place on the corners of Sokolov and Keren Hayesod streets in the capital.
In an emergency phone conversation with Public Security Minister, Gilad Erdan, Netanyahu called the situation "extremely serious."
"Justice will be dealt to whoever was responsible for this act," he said. "In the State of Israel, an individual's freedom of choice is one of the country's most basic values."
"It is up to us to make sure that every man and woman can live in safety at all times in every way that they choose to live. This is how we work and this is how we will continue to do things. I wish a speedy recovery to all those injured."
Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said that "the atrocious act tonight in Jerusalem is an attempt to hurt the quality of life in the city and to prevent the basic right of freedom of expression."
The mayor said that he would not accept such expressions of violence.
"In Jerusalem there is a place for everyone and we will continue to fight, together with the police, everyone who tries to hurt another with violence."
He vowed to continue "to support all of the groups and communities in Jerusalem."
President Reuven Rivlin said in response to the attack that "people celebrating their freedom and expressing their identity were viciously stabbed. We must not be deluded, a lack of tolerance will lead us to disaster. We cannot allow such crimes, and we must condemn those who commit and support them. I wish the injured a full and speedy recovery."
Bayit Yehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich, who in 2006 organized the “Beasts Parade” to protest the gay pride parade, also condemned the stabbing saying, "This is not the way we do things."
"There is no possibly way to justify crossing this red line by using violence or harming a life," Smotrich said via Twitter. "I am disgusted by this stabbing in Jerusalem and wish all of those injured a quick recovery."
Joining the chorus of outraged public figures, Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-on Thursday condemned the stabbing and called on Netanyahu to stop hiding and make it clear that violent actions perpetrated against the gay community will not be tolerated.
"I am on the way to the hospital to visit the wounded from today's gay pride event. I call on the prime minister to stop hiding and unequivocally condemn this shocking attack."
The Meretz leader also said that it is the prime minister's responsibility "to curb the public attitude" that facilitates this type of behavior towards the gay community, adding "the State of Israel must not accept a situation where the prime minister sits in silent cowardice because of political considerations."
A small number of protestors from the extremist Lehava organization, including the group’s director Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein, were present at the march and were cordoned off by the police at the corner of Agron and Keren Hayesod streets.
“This is the holy city of Jerusalem and there is no place for such an event and no reason for people to be proud about it,” Gopstein told the Post.
Lehava's Meir David Koperschmidt slams homosexuals ahead of Jerusalem pride parade
“If such people can have a pride march then soon paedophiles and anyone else with such inclinations can hold a march,” he said.
Following the stabbing incident, Lehava released a statement in which Gopstein said the organization “is opposed to the stabbing of Jews.”
Said Gopstein “we came to protest against the march of abomination because we think there is no place for marches like these in Jerusalem This is a provocation which incites people’s feelings and we call on the police not to allow this march again in Jerusalem.
Both Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef denounced the attack stating that it violated Torah law and called on the legal authorities to deal with the attacker with utmost severity.
“The Torah of the Jewish people forbids all violence and [attempts to] injure any person, and especially someone who tries to kill another person,” said Lau.
Yosef said the attacker should be considered like “any other murderer.”
“It’s unthinkable that a man can lift up his hand against another Jewish soul in the name of religion,” said the rabbi, adding “I am praying from the bottom of my heart for the full recovery of those who were injured and in the face of this type of hatred I call on the entire Jewish people to return to unity in kindness and tolerance."