With six people stabbed at a gay pride parade by a man who had recently been released for committing the same crime a decade ago, Jerusalem’s police chief Moshe (Chico) Edri came under fire Thursday evening for failing to keep Yishai Schlissel away from the annual march.
Schlissel had made a series of statements following his release from prison three weeks ago, indicating that he was planning another attack on the gay pride rally.
As the chaos of the attack began to subside, a number of marchers were seen angrily confronting Edri.
“You knew he was just released from jail, and yet you did nothing to keep him away from here! Shame on the police!” one of the marchers shouted.
Pressing Edri on the issue, Channel 2 news asked why no preemptive police action had been taken, given that Schlissel had been publicly vocal about continuing his efforts to harm Israel’s LGBT community.
Following his release, Schlissel distributed a handwritten, anti-gay manifesto in which he called the pride march “shameful” and “blasphemous,” and alluded to plans to perpetrate another attack.
“It is incumbent upon every Jew to risk beatings or imprisonment and together to stop the desecration for the sanctity of His name. If we refrain from declaring war, they’ll feel free to spread this shame all over the world,” he said.
Ten days ago, he gave an interview to an ultra-Orthodox media channel in which he said his 2005 attack was “an act of extremism… but this march has to be stopped.” The gay community wants to “despoil the people of Israel,” he said.
Two eyewitnesses told The Times of Israel that before the attack, a policewoman had noticed Schlissel approaching the parade and told him to stay away.
Schlissel presumably walked along side streets adjacent to the march route and rejoined the parade near the corner of Washington and Keren Hayesod streets, where he ran at the crowd screaming and began stabbing people with a kitchen knife.
Edri told reporters that while police were aware that Schlissel had been released, they did not have any concrete information that he was planning another attack.
Edri said the police investigation was still in its early stages and did not disclose any further information.