American citizens have been told to stay alert during the celebrations, one year on from the violence of 2015.
This week, members of the LGBT community will take to Jerusalem’s streets to take part in the annual Pride celebrations. However, the United States’ consulate has urged American citizens who wish to take part in the celebrations on Thursday to ‘exercise caution,’ following the violence that took place in 2015.
During last year’s Pride celebrations, 16-year-old Shira Banki was killed by Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthadox Jewish man, who went on a stabbing spree – five others were left wounded during the deplorable attack. To make matters worse, it appeared that this disgusting, targeted attack against the LGBT community could have been avoided, after it was revealed that Schlissel had been charged and imprisoned after a similar attack on the city’s Pride parade in 2005 – he had just been released from prison prior to 2015’s attack.
A statement from the US Consulate, released this week, reads: “The Consulate advises US citizens participating in the march to exercise caution and to be aware that gatherings of large crowds can be a target for criminals, terrorists, and individuals motivated by nationalistic and political beliefs.”
The Consulate makes no mention of a specific threat, but according to The Times of Israel, ‘the 15th annual march has been the target of vehement opprobrium from some rabbis and right-wing activists.’
Almost one year on from Shira’s tragic death, her parents Ori and Mika Banki, released a statement calling for all who oppose violence to join them in marching.
They wrote: ”After Shira’s murder, there were many voices saying that even though they don’t agree with the way of life LGTBQ community members live, and moreover they resist the concept of the Jerusalem Pride March – they still cannot accept violence as a legitimate demonstration of disagreement.
“To all of these voices, and everyone who feels and thinks that way – we expect to see you march this year and in the next years to come.”
Echoing their sentiments was President Reuven Rivlin, who said on Monday: “Shira was murdered for the right of every woman and man to express themselves and their sexuality freely.
“With her murder, beauty and innocence were slain on the altar of hatred. Incitement against the LGBT community, and all support that that incitement receives, must stop.”
This article was originally published on Gay Times. Read the original article.