Along the stone sidewalks on Keren Hayesod Street in Jerusalem’s city center, a long line of people — mostly families and teens; a modestly dressed crowd far removed from the stereotype of most gay pride parades — marched in solidarity with Jerusalem’s small LGBTQ community.
I was dispatched to cover the march and take photographs for The Times of Israel.
Standing a few hundred yards from our Washington Street offices, watching what seemed to be a thoroughly good-natured procession, I heard screams from the center of the crowd. Turning around, I saw a young girl lying on the street. She was covered in blood.
I spun to my right and saw another bloodied person, a young man, probably in his 20s, also on the ground. To my left was yet another victim — a girl who again looked to be in her early 20s — surrounded by fellow marchers trying to reassure her and administer basic first aid.
Down on Keren Hayesod Street, there was a mass of people flocking toward the center of the street, where police wrestled to the ground and apprehended the assailant — who, it was discovered later, is an ultra-Orthodox man released from prison three weeks ago after a 10-year sentence for a similar stabbing at Jerusalem’s 2005 pride parade.
It took roughly five minutes for the first ambulance to arrive. Police tried to create a human barrier around each of the victims, stopping the swarm of marchers from interfering with the emergency rescue.
The paramedics left with the six wounded, two in serious condition. A peculiar pause replaced the sirens, as the scene cleared and the chaos suddenly faded.
And then there seemed to be a collective decision by many to resume the march.
“As painful as it is, we have to keep going,” Yonat Birin, a 31-year-old marcher, told me before she rejoined the crowd. “This shows how important this fight is for gays and lesbians. We have to keep going.”