Graffiti quoting a biblical verse against homosexuality was found spray-painted Wednesday on a wall near where a teenage girl was stabbed to death during the 2015 gay pride parade in Jerusalem.
The incident came just days after mass protests were held throughout Israel to protest a new law denying surrogacy rights to gay couples, and a week before this year’s Jerusalem gay pride parade.
“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: It is abomination,” read the graffiti, quoting a verse from the book of Leviticus.
The graffiti had been cleaned off the wall on Jerusalem’s Keren Hayesod street by Wednesday afternoon and a police investigation was opened into the incident, Hadashot TV news reported.
Shira Banki, 16, was stabbed to death during the 2015 gay pride parade by Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox extremist Jew. Six other people were wounded in the attack.
Schlissel was sentenced to life in prison for the attack, which came just weeks after he finished a sentence for a previous stabbing attack at the Jerusalem parade in 2005, which left three wounded.
A passerby who saw the graffiti on Wednesday contacted Ofer Berkovitch, a city councilman and mayoral candidate for the Hitorerut faction, who in turn alerted the Jerusalem Municipality’s Department for Improving the City’s Facade.
“The public sphere in Jerusalem must remain tolerant and respectful. I will show zero tolerance toward violations of law and will act with a strong hand against extremists from all sides who try to harm Jerusalem,” Berkovitch wrote on his Twitter account.
Jerusalem Open House, a gay rights group, also condemned the graffiti.
“At the same place where Shira Banki was murdered during the pride and tolerance march in 2015, today hateful writing was spray painted that was meant to set the stage for the next murder,” it wrote on its Facebook page.
This year’s Jerusalem gay pride parade is scheduled for August 2.
On Sunday, thousands of Israelis protested across the country over a new surrogacy law that has drawn accusations of LGBT discrimination in the Jewish state, including some 100,000 people at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.
Many of the protesters focused their anger at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had voiced support for extending surrogacy rights to same-sex couples — before voting against such a measure just days later.
The removal of a clause allowing surrogacy for same-sex male couples was met by widespread anger from Israel’s homosexual community, with the Agudah umbrella organization calling a nationwide strike Sunday in protest.
The law extended eligibility to single women, but not to men, effectively preventing homosexual couples from having a child via a surrogate.