Shira Banki, a 16-year-old victim of a mass-stabbing attack at a Jerusalem gay pride parade Thursday, succumbed to her injuries Sunday. Banki died at the Hadassah Medical Center in the same city, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Banki was one of six people stabbed at the parade. Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man, is suspected of carrying out the stabbings just weeks after his release from prison. Schlissel spent 10 years behind bars for stabbing and wounding three people at a gay pride parade in 2005, the Post reported.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences to Banki's family. "Shira was murdered for courageously supporting the principle that each and every person has the right to live their life in security and respect," he said in a statement cited by the Post.
Via Twitter, Netanyahu called for Banki's attacker to be prosecuted. "We condemn with disgust the attempt to impose hatred and violence in our midst, and we will work to bring to justice the killer," he said, according to a translation of the tweet.
Witnesses at the gay pride parade described seeing an apparently ultra-Orthodox Jewish man indiscriminately wielding a knife at passersby. “We heard people screaming, everyone ran for cover, and there were bloodied people on the ground,” Shai Aviyor, a witness, told the Israeli television station Channel 2.
Police detained Schlissel Thursday. The next day, police extended his detention for 12 days, after they declared him fit to stand trial.
Following the attacks, some people quickly characterized the stabbings as an anomaly in a country that otherwise respects the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Schlissel's stabbing spree "must be considered for what it is: a relatively isolated incident in a nation that takes its LGBT citizens very seriously," David Kaufman, an editor at the New York Post, wrote in an opinion piece Friday. "Israel doesn’t need to 'pretend' to support its LGBT citizens because it really does. And one violent nut-case -- no matter how egregious his actions -- cannot erase this legacy."
Thousands of Israelis attended demonstrations Saturday in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other cities to protest the attacks on the gay pride parade. At the rallies, speakers urged Israeli authorities to take firmer action to root out homophobia, Reuters reported.
Critics of Israeli leadership said Netanyahu's condemnation of the attacks rang hollow.
"His governments have done close to nothing to end legal discrimination against the LGBT community," Aeyal Gross, a Haaretz columnist, wrote in the Israeli newspaper. "The stabbing ... reminds us that, despite the liberal image we flaunt, Israel is still not a safe place for gays, lesbians, transgender people or bisexuals."