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Jerusalem Pride stabber convicted of attempted murder


Tal Rosner | February 01, 2006

Stabbing at Jerusalem pride
TEL AVIV, Israel — An Ultra-Orthodox man who stabbed people at the Gay Pride Parade held in Jerusalem last year has been convicted of attempted murder. Judges ruled that the accused displayed extreme fanatical behavior in his actions that resulted in the injury of three people.

The Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday convicted Yishai Schlissel, a resident of the ultra-Orthodox community of Kiryat Sefer, of attempted murder and severe injury for stabbing and injuring three people at the gay parade.

About nine months ago, Schlissel arrived at the Gay Pride Parade which was held in Jerusalem, carrying a knife. He stabbed three people, who suffered light to moderate injuries.

�I came to murder on behalf of God. We can�t have such abomination in the country,� Schlissel said during his police interrogation .

Upon leaving the courtroom Tuesday, Schlissel refused to answer reporters' questions, and only said that "I don't give interviews to those who bring troubles to Jews."

The judges said in the verdict that "the conclusion is that the accused displayed extreme fanatical behavior, and made up his mind not to let the parade end in peace at any cost."

"He had no tolerance, not even minimal, toward the people who attended the parade because his worldview rejects any compromise. The accused was fully conscious and ready to pay a heavy personal price for his acts," the judges added.

Adam Russo, who was moderately wounded in his chest and left hand after being stabbed by Schlissel, was present at the court hearing.

"I am very satisfied. There is no doubt that he came in order to murder, and he could have killed me," Russo said.

"He didn�t succeed for a number of reasons, but his goal was to kill me. It�s also more than a personal matter – he also hurt the entire community and this is a hate crime that is comparable to anti-Semitism and racism," he added.

Many members of Jerusalem's homosexual-lesbian community gathered at the courtroom in anticipation of the verdict. Hagai Elad, director of the Jerusalem Open House, which organized the parade, was pleased with the court ruling.

"The conviction does not only do justice and deter those who will try and commit violent acts against the community in the future, but more than that � this is a victory for the rule of law and democracy," Elad said.

"The attempt to impose cultural terror failed in the last parade, and the global pride events will be held in Jerusalem in August," he added.

'Hate crime aimed at entire gay community'

The prosecutor, Attorney Nick Kaufman, from the Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office, is expected to ask the court to sentence Schlissel to at least 10 years in prison.

According to the indictment, Schlissel purchased an 18-centimeter (approximately 7 inches) knife in preparation for the attack. During the parade, he stabbed three people, two 18-year-olds and one 50-year-old man.

One victim sustained moderate wounds to his chest and fingers, while the other two suffered light injuries.

Ephraim Holtzberg, an ultra-Orthodox resident of Jerusalem, also arrived at the courtroom and said that he did not understand why Schlissel was convicted.

"Jerusalem is the holy city and is not San Francisco. This verdict is provocative and was ordered through pressures of the homosexual-lesbian community. The verdict ignores what the participants were doing at the parade," he charged.

Saar Netanel, member of the Jerusalem City Council, promised that the global gay pride events will be held in Jerusalem in the summer.

"This was a hate crime aimed at our entire community. And it wasn�t just against homosexuals and lesbians, because everyone who cares about Jerusalem and pluralism also took part in the parade," he said.

"These stabbings were targeted at each and every one of us. There is no difference between this and the stabbing of a Jew abroad. Hatred is hatred," he added. – Issued by Gay Link Content


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