Brother of pride parade killer held on fresh attack suspicions
Other members of Schlissel family banned from Jerusalem as police crack down ahead of highly charged march
The brother of a man who carried out a deadly attack on Jerusalem’s gay pride parade last year was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of planning an attack on the annual march set for Thursday, as police cracked down on possible threats to the march a year after it was beset by deadly violence.
Michael Schlissel was arrested based on intelligence information that he planned to attack the parade, according to Hebrew media reports.
His mother and four other brothers were also banned from the city until after the parade, after being questioned by police.
During last year’s march, Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man, stabbed seven people, killing 16-year-old Shira Banki and injuring six others.
According to the report, police have asked a court to order Michael Schlissel kept in jail until after the parade.
The move comes ahead of the highly charged march planned to go through central Jerusalem on Thursday afternoon under heavy security.
Police on Tuesday said they would beef up security around the march and only allow participants who had undergone a security check.
“The pride parade will proceed this year as usual, and anyone attempting to disrupt the march will be dealt with firmly,” Jerusalem District Police Commander Yoram Halevi said.
Security officials were criticized in 2015 for failing to keep Schlissel away from the parade despite the fact that he had just been released from jail for a similar though nonfatal attack in 2005, in which he stabbed three people.
The Schlissel family’s lawyer Itamar Ben Gvir accused the police of overreach in banning the family members.
“The police admitted… that there was no basis for the detainment. This is simply abuse because they are the family of Yishai Schlissel.”
However Schlissel’s father seemed to support the move.
“I trust the police to do everything that needs to be done,” he told the Walla news site, “I had hoped that they would have done more last year and then perhaps the entire business would have been prevented.”
Last year Schlissel killed the 16-year-old Banki at the Jerusalem pride parade and injured 10 others. He had been released from prison several weeks before the parade after serving 10 years for a similar attack at the Jerusalem gay pride parade in 2005.
Yishai Schlissel, who expressed religious motives for his actions, was sentenced to life behind bars after the killing.
Other anti-gay activists also received police warning or were banned from the city.
The Association for Civil Rights also condemned the police’s actions.
“Banning the Schlissel family from Jerusalem and making warning calls and excluding activists who oppose the gay pride parade is a violation of human rights and abuse of police authority,” the group said in a tweet.
Police also said they had put a 28-year-old man under house arrest after he expressed plans to commit suicide after the parade. In a letter by the man, he mentioned a dispute with Shira Banki’s father.
Banki’s parents have called on the public to attend the parade and to honor their daughter’s memory by rejecting violence.
“After Shira’s murder, there were many voices saying that even though they don’t agree with the way of life LGBTQ 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 in a Facebook post.
“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.