Hate Crime at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade. 30 July 2015.

Yesterday, the city of Jerusalem (the Jewish side, of course) hosted their 12th Annual Gay Pride Parade and a horrific hate crime was committed.

Haaretz news reported it this way:

In the midst of Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade on Thursday, a “religious” Jew stabbed six people. The assailant was apprehended and it quickly became clear that he had committed an almost identical crime before going to prison for ten years, only to be released last month; free to vent his blood thirsty hatred again.

A Haredi Jew (ultra-Orthodox) ran blindly into the crowd of about 3,000 people and started randomly stabbing anyone that he could reach. He stabbed both men and women, adults and teenagers. He tried to kill as many people as he could, whether they were gay or not. The police apprehended him and imprisoned him.

This was a hate crime against homosexuals, but what is special and different about Israel is that every public leader spoke out against it.

  • Aryeh Stern, the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem decried Schlissel’s actions as unbecoming of Judaism.

    “I want to express my deep shock,” Stern says in a statement obtained through local reports and translated from Hebrew. “I represent a religious community, and all rabbis are particularly shocked by something that happened yesterday, because Judaism and bloodshed do not go together. This heinous act is criminal in every respect.”

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promptly condemned the stabbings as “a most serious incident” that is antithetical to Israeli values.

    The prime minister vowed to “prosecute those responsible to the full extent of the law.”

    “A despicable hate crime was committed this evening in Jerusalem. In Israel, everyone, including the gay community, has the right to live in peace, and we will defend that right. In the state of Israel, the individual’s freedom of choice is one of the country’s basic values. We need to insure that every man and woman in Israel can live in security any way they choose. This is how we acted in the past, and how we will continue to act. I wish the wounded a speedy recovery.

  • Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat described the stabbing as an affront to human rights.

    “The criminal act this evening in Jerusalem is an attempt to disrupt social life in the city and to suppress the basic human right of freedom of expression. We will not tolerate any excuse for violence of any kind. In Jerusalem, there is a place for everyone, and together with the Israel Police, we will continue to target anyone who violently attempts to hurt others.”

  • Chief Rabbis David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef denounced the attack, stating that it violated Jewish law, and called on the legal authorities to deal with the attacker with utmost severity.

    Rabbi Lau said, “The Torah of the Jewish people forbids all violence and [attempts to] injure any person, and especially someone who tries to kill another person.”

    Rabbi 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. 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.”

And finally a scholar, Dr. Samuel Lebens, an Orthodox rabbi, and research fellow at the Center for Philosophy of Religion at Rutgers University:

The ultra-Orthodox newspaper Kikar HaShabbat condemned the killing, but its editors still made clear that in their view the parade was an “abomination.” The Bible does call a certain homosexual act a toeiva (generally translated as an “abomination”), but it doesn’t ever call walking in Jerusalem an abomination. Furthermore, the Bible calls eating shellfish an abomination, but we don’t tend to see protests outside non-kosher restaurants, and it calls certain types of corrupt business practices an abomination, but we don’t see the same sort of moral indignation and cultural taboo around people who flout the basic principles of business ethics.

We have created, in our internal communal discourse around homosexuality, not merely a climate in which gay Jews are made to feel guilty and isolated and shunned and hated, but a climate in which a “bad seed” could come to think that murderous violence against people on a pride parade was a holy thing to do.

Murderous violence is not holy. There is no such thing as “jihad” in The Torah or in Judaism.

Both the secular government of the State of Israel and the religious leaders of the Haredim condemned this villain for his hate crime and he will be prosecuted. For this, I am proud of Israel. We are united in service to human kind. I wrote about this here. No matter what my personal religious views might be, it is not my responsibility to police anybody else. God never asked me to “help” Him/Her to point out other people’s transgressions. I am nobody to condemn others and God forbid I should hurt someone because I don’t like their behavior! This is not Torah. Kol ha kavod to Israel’s leaders for speaking out against this hate crime.


Photo by Amir Cohen. Reuters.