Category: Israel Bulletins

Jerusalem Gay Pride: Israel teenage stabbing victim dies

A candlelight vigil for Shira Banki in Tel Aviv on Sunday
A candlelight vigil for Shira Banki in Tel Aviv on Sunday

A teenage girl who was stabbed at a Gay Pride march in Jerusalem has died from her wounds, doctors say.

Shira Banki, 16, was one of six people attacked at the event on Thursday.

Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, who carried out a similar attack in 2005, was arrested at the scene.

Israel’s government would have “zero tolerance” for Jewish extremists, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a security cabinet meeting on Sunday.

His comments also followed a separate attack in which an 18-month old Palestinian child died when his West Bank home was firebombed by suspected Jewish settlers.

The cabinet approved new measures to tackle ultra-nationalist violence against Palestinians, including detention without trial of Israelis.

The policy of detention without trial has long been used against Palestinians, but observers believe it has rarely been used against Israelis.

No arrests have been made so far in the case.

Jerusalem Gay Pride: Six stabbed ‘by ultra-Orthodox Jew’

A photographer captured the moment the man reached for his knife
A photographer captured the moment the man reached for his knife

Israeli police have arrested a man after six people were wounded in a stabbing at the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem.

A police spokesperson identified the suspect as the same man who stabbed three people at the parade in 2005.

Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for that attack and was released from prison three weeks ago.

Two of the injured are in a serious condition, medics said.

The attacker emerged behind marchers and began stabbing them while screaming, before being tackled by a police officer.

Dramatic images showed the assailant reaching inside his coat and raising a knife above his head.

Yasmin Yusupov, 20, told the BBC she and her friends were marching when she “started seeing a lot of people running”.

“We didn’t realise what happened but I was pulling the friends who were with me to run away. We just banged on doors of people’s houses. We tried asking them to get us inside.

“When we came back I saw a few bodies on the floor right in front of me. Everyone had blood on their hands because they were trying to help,” she added.

“The past few years have seen the rapid advancement of openly LGBT people on the Israeli right…”

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James Kirchik writes in Tablet:

Due to the longtime presence of religious parties in Israeli government coalitions, and the ability of minority factions in bare-majority governments to block legislation, most strides in LGBT rights have come about as a result of judicial decisions. “The only reforms achieved through legislation pertain to rights of gays and lesbians as individuals and by amendments of existing laws,” says Michal Eden, a former Tel Aviv city councilwoman and LGBT legal advocate. A week before the pride celebration, the country’s National Labor Court ruled that employers cannot discriminate against citizens due to their gender identity.

But this method of legal progress may be beginning to change. Last week, Knesset members from the Likud and Kulanu parties partnered to introduce an employment anti-discrimination bill, marking the first time that the present coalition has attempted to pass pro-LGBT legislation. Their effort follows the failed attempt by an opposition MK to file a similar bill. The past few years have seen the rapid advancement of openly LGBT people on the Israeli right, a development that has proven exasperating for many gay activists, most of whom identify with the left.

Michael Oren’s anti-Obama book tour is a bad sign for the US-Israel relationship

Michael Oren.Donald Bowers/Getty Images
Michael Oren. Donald Bowers/Getty Images

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador from 2009 to 2013 and now an Israeli lawmaker, has been a central figure in the US-Israel relationship and its hardships.

Oren is about to release a memoir on his time as ambassador, and in recent days has been issuing a series of interviews and public statements about how it all went so wrong. His telling is both simple and damaging: The Obama administration and liberal American Jews, bespoiled by ideology, are dead-set against Israel.

Oren has claimed Obama “deliberately” damaged US-Israel ties. The president’s outreach to the Muslim world, Oren said, was a “failure” rooted in his academic background and “earlier ties to Indonesia and the Muslim villages of Kenya.”American Jews have failed to use their powerful positions in the media to help Israel, and instead “fight their Jewish identity to lend credibility to their criticism of Israel.”

Oren’s insults do not stand alone. If you follow his logic, Oren’s implication is that Israel cannot count on Obama or American Jews, so the once-broad foundations of the alliance are essentially lost. As he should know himself from his time as ambassador, this plays into and thus exacerbates one of the most dangerous trends facing Israel: the growing polarization in American politics toward Israel.

Israeli Cabinet approves 'Jewish state bill'

Binyamin Netanyahu. (photo credit:REUTERS)
Binyamin Netanyahu. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The cabinet voted in favor of the controversial “Jewish state bill,” with the preceding discussion descended into a shouting match between ministers on Sunday.
“People ask who needs this bill; we have managed 66 years without it,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said ahead of the meeting. “And I ask, who needs the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, we managed 45 years without it. We need both,” he said. “Israel is a Jewish democratic state. There are those who want democracy to take precedence over Judaism, and those who want Judaism to take precedence over democracy. In the law that I am bringing, both principles are equal and must be given equal consideration.”
Netanyahu said Israel is the national home of the Jewish people where there are equal rights for every citizen. “But there are national rights only for the Jewish people; a flag, anthem, the right of every Jew to immigrate to Israel, and other national symbols,” he said.
The prime minister said this law was needed at this time because many people are challenging the idea that Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people.