Shira Banki’s parents urge public to attend Jerusalem Pride march


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The parents of Shira Banki, the 16-year-old girl who was killed in a stabbing spree at last year’s Jerusalem gay pride march, have called on the public to participate in this year’s event.

“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,” Ori and Mika Banki wrote Wednesday on Facebook.

“To all of these voices, and everyone who feels and thinks that way — we expect to see you march this year and in the years to come,” they wrote.

The 15th Jerusalem Pride march, which is being held in memory of Shira, is scheduled for July 21.

The Bankis invited march participants to place flowers at the site where their daughter was stabbed and 10 others were injured by Yishai Schlissel, who had been released from prison several weeks before the parade after serving 10 years for a similar attack on the Jerusalem Pride march in 2005. In June, Schlissel was sentenced to life in prison and ordered to pay compensation to Shira’s parents.

“Marching in Jerusalem’s Pride March is not just about showing support to the LGTBQ community, it is also about supporting ideas of tolerance and equality for all. To us it also means standing in resistance to violence as a way of solving any dispute or argument,” the Bankis wrote.

They noted Shira was not a member of the LGTBQ community, but that regardless of sexual orientation, “we all deserve to be treated respectfully certainly not with violence or disrespect.”

Concluding the post, the Bankis wrote: “If we won’t stand up against them, the next murder is yet to come. If you care for a better society, a better Jerusalem and Israel — you must march with us at this year’s Jerusalem Pride March.”

The march is produced by the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, a nonprofit organization for the LGTBQ community of Jerusalem and surrounding areas.

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