The parents of a teenage girl stabbed to death during last year’s Gay Pride March in Jerusalem have issued an emotional call to all those who oppose violence, saying this year’s Pride should be about tolerance and equality.
Ori and Mika Banki lost their 16-year old daughter Shira in 2015 when Charedi man Yishai Schlissel produced a knife and started lunging at participants. He had only recently been released from prison, having done something similar in 2005.
Now, in a poignant Facebook post, the grieving parents have called for all those who abhor violence to march this year.
“After Shira’s murder, there were many voices saying that even though they don’t agree with the LGBTQ way of life and resist the concept of the Jerusalem Pride March, they still cannot accept violence as a legitimate demonstration of disagreement,” they said. “To all these voices and everyone who feels and thinks that way, we except to see you march this year.”
Joining the Pride March was not just about supporting the LGTBQ community, they said, but supporting ideas of tolerance and equality for all. “To us it also means standing in resistance to violence as a way of solving a dispute or argument.”
Her parents said Shira was not even a LGTBQ community member, but was marching last year because she believed that “every human being has a right to be treated like one, no matter his or hers sexual orientation”.
They added: “Some still think mockery, humiliation, hatred and even incitement are allowed. All of these voices, consciously or unconsciously, are responsible for her murder. If we won’t stand up against them, the next murder is yet to come.”
This year’s Jerusalem Pride March, which takes place on Thursday 21 July, will be held in Shira’s memory, with marchers asked to bring flowers to leave at the corner of Washington Street and Keren Hayesod, where she lost her life.