Gay Parade stabber convicted of attempted murder

Haredi who stabbed 3 in gay pride parade claims he was "messenger of God."

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
January 31, 2006 12:47
2 minute read.
Gay Parade stabber convicted of attempted murder

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An Israeli man was convicted Tuesday in the Jerusalem District Court of attempted murder for stabbing three participants in last year's annual Jerusalem gay pride parade. Yishai Schlissel, 30, of the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Sefer, was found guilty of stabbing and lightly to moderately wounding the three revelers with a knife during a boisterous haredi protest against the central Jerusalem parade. After managing to stab three people with the knife he had concealed inside his coat, the attacker was quickly wrestled to the ground and arrested on the scene by police. "I came to murder on behalf of God. We can't have such abomination in the country," Schlissel told police during his subsequent interrogation. Schlissel refused to talk to the press following Tuesday's ruling in the Jerusalem court, and would only said that "I don't give interviews to those who bring troubles to Jews." According to the charge sheet, the haredi assailant purchased the knife ahead of time in order to carry out the attack at the June 30 parade. "The accused displayed extreme fanatical behavior, and made up his mind not to let the parade end in peace at any cost," the judges wrote in their ruling. "He had no tolerance, not even minimal, toward the people who attended the parade because his worldview rejects any compromise. The accused was fully conscious and ready to pay a heavy personal price for his acts," the judges added. Adam David Russo, of the Jerusalem suburb of Givat Ze'ev, who was the most seriously wounded of the three victims in the day-time attack, said Tuesday in the Jerusalem court that he was very pleased with the ruling. "There is no doubt that he came in order to murder, and he could have killed me," Russo said. "It's also more than a personal matter; he also hurt the entire community and this is a hate crime that is comparable to anti-Semitism and racism," he added. The State Attorney's Office has asked the court to sentence the attacker to 10 years in prison. The sentencing will be handed down at a later date. The annual parade, which draws several thousand participants every year, has been the source of repeated debate, with many religious city councilors and a not insignificant number largely-traditional city residents considering such an event inappropriate for a "holy" city. The tensions over last year's event were further fueled in the wake of plans by the homosexual community in Jerusalem to host a week-long international gay festival in the capital. The proposed international gay fest, which was widely criticized by a coterie of Jewish Christian and Muslim religious leaders in Jerusalem and around the world, was subsequently postponed until this year due to last year's concomitant Israeli pullout from Gaza, which tied up police forces. Despite widespread city opposition, organizers are determined to hold the international event this year, setting the stage for a major show-down in the city this summer.

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