Far-right activist gets NIS 180 fine for praising fatal 2015 gay parade stabbing
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Far-right activist gets NIS 180 fine for praising fatal 2015 gay parade stabbing

In Facebook posts, Gilad Kleiner, son of a former MK, endorsed the 2015 attack and celebrated the death of 16-year-old Shira Banki

Friends of Shira Banki mourn at her grave after her funeral on August 3, 2015. 16-year-old Banki was stabbed and critically wounded while participating in the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on July 31. Banki passed away on August 2, 2015. (Flash90)
Friends of Shira Banki mourn at her grave after her funeral on August 3, 2015. 16-year-old Banki was stabbed and critically wounded while participating in the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on July 31. Banki passed away on August 2, 2015. (Flash90)

The Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court on Thursday ordered Gilad Kleiner — the son of a former Likud Knesset member — to pay a symbolic 180 shekel ($50) fine for Facebook posts in which he praised and endorsed the 2015 murder of 16-year-old Shira Banki at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride Parade.

The trial has lasted the better part of two years, during which Kleiner’s charges were steadily reduced amid the defense’s claims that far-right views were unfairly targeted by the state prosecution.

As part of his sentencing, Kleiner agreed not to repeat his actions.

A day after an anti-gay fanatic Yishai Schlissel stabbed six people at the July 30, 2015, parade, killing Banki, Kleiner wrote a Facebook post hailing the act and expressing regret that Schlissel had not managed to hurt more participants.

An undated picture of 16-year-old Shira Banki. (Courtesy)
An undated picture of Shira Banki at 16 years of age (Courtesy)

Kleiner was then briefly arrested, but was released within a day. He was rearrested the following Monday after taking to Facebook again to celebrate Banki’s death. The post about Banki was a violation of the terms of his earlier release, prosecutors said.

Kleiner’s indictment, filed a week later in the Ashdod Magistrate’s Court, charged him with incitement to violence, incitement to racism and violating a court-ordered house arrest.

Prosecutors said at the time that Kleiner’s posts “have a real possibility of bringing others to carry out additional violent acts, at his encouragement and inspiration.”

Kleiner’s attorney, far-right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir, said the arrests by police and prosecutors only played into Kleiner’s hands by giving him the attention he sought.

Over the course of the trial, the court became convinced that despite his views, Kleiner was not a danger to the public.

Kleiner is the son of former Knesset member Michael Kleiner, a long-time Likud member who later broke off to form the far-right Herut party.

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