MK Itzik Shmuli of the centre-left Zionist Union party in Israel has come out as gay following a violent attack at an LGBT+ Pride march in Jerusalem on 30 July.
Six people were injured when a man wielding a knife attacked marchers. Yishai Shlissel was named as the suspected perpetrator.
Shmuli wrote in an editorial published in the Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth daily: ‘We cannot be silent any longer. We cannot be silent any longer because the knife is raised on the entire LGBT community—my community—and it won’t stop there.
‘A terrible criminal act happened again in the city of God, attacking all of us. It attacks the right of us all to be different, to make our own choices, accept our differences and accommodate each other.
‘Israeli society is wounded, stabbed in the stomach… it loses its compassion for other people just because they are different. It loses its acceptance of others.’
Yishai Shlissel, who is currently in police custody, was released from prison three weeks ago after serving a 10 year sentence for stabbing four people at the same parade in 2005. ‘It is the obligation of every Jew to keep his soul from punishment and stop this giant desecration of God’s name next Thursday,’ Shlissel wrote in a letter before the shootings. ‘Once again, the evildoers want to have a parade of sin and of all places, in Jerusalem—city of the king of kings blessed be he—in order to defile its holiness and desecrate its holy name on Thursday. They are always looking for ways to desecrate God’s name even more.’
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, has condemned the stabbing. ‘Justice will be dealt to whomever was responsible for this act. In the State of Israel, an individual’s freedom of choice is one of the country’s most basic values.’
Israel currently has an Equal Employment Law which forbids discrimination against workers on the basis of sexual orientation, but gender identity remains an unprotected class. Same-sex marriages performed in other countries are recognized in Israel, but religious authorities do not perform same-sex marriages within the country.