As many as six participants in Thursday’s Jerusalem gay pride march have been stabbed by an assailant described by police as a suspected ultra-Orthodox Jewish man.
Israeli media said the suspect identified as Yishai Shlissel, had recently been released from prison after having been convicted of stabbing three people during Jerusalem Pride 10 years ago.
The Guardian adds:
He stabbed the man in the back “as if to say: ‘I hate you’”, she said. Shoshei said the man, who she described as between 30 and 35, was running into the crowd and stabbing for what felt like minutes before police brought him to the ground.
The march has long been a focus of tension between Israel’s predominantly secular majority and the ultra-Orthodox Jewish minority, who object to homosexuality.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the attack, saying:
“Whoever did it harmed Jewish and moral values, and must be punished with the utmost severity,” said Naftali Bennett, the conservative Education Minister and leader of the The Jewish Home Party. “When events are clarified Israeli society must do some soul searching to understand how it has come to this.”
A representative of the far-right Lehava group told the Jerusalem Post before the march that it considered homosexuality the same as “robbing a bank” and believed it was destroying the Jewish nation.