The teenage girl who was stabbed
at last week’s Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade died on Sunday afternoon, the Hadassah University Medical Center announced.
“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,” the family of Shira Banki said.
The family called for “a little less hate and a lot more love,” and announced that it had decided to donate her organs in order to save the lives of others.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his condolences to the Bankis and said their daughter “was murdered because she courageously supported the principle according to which everyone is entitled to live their lives in dignity and safety. We will not allow the abhorrent murderer to undermine the fundamental values upon which Israeli society is based.
“We strongly condemn the attempt to instill hatred and violence in our midst and we will deal with the murderer to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.
Yishai Schlissel, from Modi’in Illit, stabbed six people at Thursday’s parade before bystanders wrestled him to the ground. In 2005, Schlissel stabbed several people at the gay pride parade in the capital: he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for that attack, served 10 years, and was released three weeks ago.
Banki suffered massive bleeding from the wound in her back, causing her to have no blood pressure and to lose consciousness, Dr. Ofer Merin, the head of the Shaare Zedek Medical Center trauma unit who was on the team that treated her, told The Jerusalem Post
after her death was announced.
“In the trauma room and the surgical theater, we managed to restore and stabilize her blood pressure and stop the bleeding, but we didn’t know how long her brain had been without oxygen,” he said.
Shaare Zedek doctors decided to transfer Banki to the neurosurgery department at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, on the very tiny chance that their doctors could carry out some procedure to save her.
“Without a blood supply to her head and brain, there was a one-in-a-million chance of saving her, but they couldn’t, and she suffered terminal brain death. Her family donated organs for transplant,” Merin said.
Following the announcement on Sunday, the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance said the man who attacked Banki targeted “all those who believe in a just society where every woman and man can live freely without fear of violence and persecution.”
The center continued, “Knives will not stop us. With pride and pain, with broken hearts and tearful eyes, with Shira’s memory and our unanswered prayers, we will continue to march in Jerusalem.”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat expressed deep sorrow over the news of Banki’s death and vowed to make the capital a more open and tolerant city.
“The murder of this young girl at the gay pride parade on the streets of Jerusalem is a criminal offense,” the mayor said. “We will continue to allow full freedom of expression in this city, we will continue to support all groups and communities, we will enhance education and tolerance for others in our school system, and we will not be deterred by those who are trying to prevent it.”
After the attack, the Judea and Samaria District Police said it was not required to track Schlissel following his release, even though he lives in its jurisdiction.
Jerusalem District Police head Asst.-Ch. Moshe Edri said the force did not have concrete intelligence that Schlissel was in attendance at the parade.
“We were prepared for every scenario, but our perimeter was breached,” he said. “This is a severe incident, and we will investigate to find out what caused this breach.”
Just before Banki’s death was announced, the police disclosed that acting Israel Police head Asst.- Ch. Bentzi Sau met with Asst.-Ch. Yisrael Yitzhak (res.), who will head the investigatory committee into the stabbing.
The probe will look into what intelligence police had before the attack; how much cooperation they had from the Prisons Service regarding Schlissel and his release; police operational preparedness and regulations for dealing with threats; and how officers on the scene responded to the attack.
The committee is scheduled to issue its findings in two weeks, including which officers are to blame for the failures that took place.
On Sunday evening, hundreds gathered in the capital’s Zion Square in a vigil in memory of Banki.
One of the other five people stabbed at the parade, Noam Eyal, returned to the scene of the crime on Sunday, where he took a few minutes alone. Still recovering from a wound to the back, he related how he was marching in the parade when he felt someone run from behind and hit him. He said he felt nothing at first, but then the former IDF combat medic realized he had been stabbed and calmly walked to get help, finally tapping a Border Police officer on the back and telling her, “I got stabbed, can I get some medical help please?” It wasn’t the first time he’d attended a gay pride parade, he said. When asked if he would attend again next year, he responded, “Yes, for sure.”Jason Shaltiel contributed to this report