Police step up preparations for Jerusalem Pride Parade

"Beyond possible attempts to harm the participants of the march, it is important to remember... past attempts to carry out terrorist attacks," said Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich.

Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade 2017 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade 2017
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
As rainbow flags go up around the capital ahead of Thursday’s annual gay pride parade, Israel Police has stepped up its security preparations for the event in light of a 2015 stabbing attack.
Life sentence for Jerusalem pride parade stabber who killed teen girl


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> Police chief Roni Alsheich toured the grounds designated for the parade on Monday morning, a police spokesperson said.
The police commissioner visited the Liberty Bell Park complex where the Jerusalem district police officers, led by Jerusalem Police chief Yoram Halevy, briefed Alsheich on the operational preparations and procedures for the coming event.
The Jerusalem gay pride parade, a populist event with the mission of preaching pride and tolerance for the LGBT community, began in 2002 with its first march named “Love Without Borders” and became an annual tradition in Jerusalem.
In 2005, a district court order overturned an attempt to stop the parade, which led to a number of protesters – mostly haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Jews – to gather at the event.
One of the protesters, Yishai Schlissel, a haredi Jew from the West Bank city of Yad Binyamin, attacked three parade participants with a kitchen knife and was subsequently convicted of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
In 2008, while in prison, Schlissel was hospitalized and diagnosed with a paranoid psychiatric disorder.
After serving a sentence of nearly 10 years in prison, Schlissel was released in 2015.
Less than three weeks after his release, he showed up at that year’s Jerusalem gay pride parade, stabbing six marchers and killing 16-year-old Shira Banki.
Schlissel was convicted of murder, six counts of attempted murder and one count of causing extreme bodily harm.
The court sentenced him to life in prison – plus an additional 31 years – and ordered him to pay NIS 2,064,000 in compensation to the families of the victims.
According to the Jerusalem Police spokesperson, Alsheich received an extensive briefing on the “long and thorough work carried out by the Israel Police,” which included, “the deployment of thousands of policemen, both overt and covert, comprehensive intelligence preparation work and the use of intelligence technologies.”
During the tour, Alsheich said, “The role of the police in a democratic society is measured by its ability to allow all sectors of the population and all voices in society to exercise their freedom of expression.”
“Besides possible attempts to harm the participants of the march, it is important to remember the threat of terrorism and previous attempts to carry out terrorist attacks,” he said.