Response to Jerusalem Pride Stabbings

30 July 2015

Something terrible happened at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade today: Six marchers were stabbed by an ultra-Orthodox man. Two of the six are reportedly in serious condition.

The alleged perpetrator is the same man convicted of attempted murder for stabbing participants of the same parade back in 2005. He was released from prison just three weeks ago.

As you know, NIF has long funded Israel’s pride organizations. We will continue to push for equality for all Israelis.

Today, I hope you will join me in wishing a speedy recovery to the injured and in expressing outrage at this crime.

It pains me deeply to say this, but the horrific news does not come as a total surprise. Some are already explaining away this incident as the action of a lone lunatic. But that explanation is too facile. The sad reality is that there are extremists in Israel who have cultivated an ideology of hate and of homophobia.

Consider this: The Lehava hate group was present today near the site of the attack. Their leader chanted, “It’s not pride, it’s an abomination.” Lehava is the organization connected to beatings of Arab teenagers in downtown Jerusalem under the pretense of trying to “prevent harassment” of Jewish women. It is the same organization that NIF’s partners have long sought to have investigated for incitement.

And then there’s this: In the minutes after the stabbing, Kikar HaShabbat, a prominent ultra-Orthodox news site, used the headline: “Four Stabbed in Jerusalem Abomination Parade.” This headline was quickly followed by an editorial explaining that this phrasing was no typo.

When this is what passes for acceptable political discourse, the results are terrible and they are tragic. But they are not a surprise. They are the outcome of a dysfunctional political reality.

NIF exists to support the voices of sanity in Israel. Today we must stand together as a community. We must stand against religious extremism. And we must renew our commitment to a better Israel.