Paramedics treat victims of Jerusalem gay parade stabbing
Paramedics treat victims of Jerusalem gay parade stabbingCredit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Political and religious leaders from across the spectrum in Israel have condemned the stabbing attack this afternoon at the Jerusalem gay pride march.

Six people were injured, two seriously, when a haredi extremist burst through the police cordon and began stabbing participants, before eventually being neutralized and arrested.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was among the first to issue a harsh condemnation of the violence.

"We are talking about an extremely severe incident. The personal responsible for this act will be brought to justice," the PM vowed at the start of an emergency meeting with Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan.

"In the State of Israel freedom of choice for the individual is one of the basic values... It is incumbent upon us to ensure that in Israel every man and woman should live in the way they choose. That is how we have acted and will continue to act. I wish a speedy recovery to the wounded."

President Reuven Rivlin also addressed the stabbing while at a celebration marking 30 years of the Israeli Opera, saying, "we came together today for a festive event, but the joy was shattered when a terrible hate crime occurred here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel."

"People celebrating their freedom and expressing their identity were viciously stabbed. We must not be deluded, a lack of tolerance will lead us to disaster. We cannot allow such crimes, and we must condemn those who commit and support them. I wish the injured a full and speedy recovery."

Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau also condemned the attack, saying, "the Torah of Israel forbids any act of violence and attacking a person, all the more so in the case of someone who harms another and tries to kill them."

"This is a very severe incident, and it is clear to all that this is not the way of the Torah and Judaism," emphasized the rabbi.

He was joined by Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who said, "the sentence of the stabber on the Jerusalem streets today should be like the sentence of every murderer and even more severe; it cannot be that a man should rise up and as if in the name of the religion raise his hand against a soul of Israel."

"I pray from the depths of my heart for the recovery of the wounded, and against expressions of hatred of this sort I call on the nation of Israel to return in unity, in pleasantness and tolerance."

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein similarly condemned the "shameful" attack.

"This is a shameful act which should be denounced unreservedly," he said, warning that such violence could "widen social rifts and bring us to the abyss."

"It is our duty to ensure that every sector (of society) has freedom of expression - but to never use violence!" he added, calling on legal authorities to prosecute the attacker to the fullest extent of the law.

Transportation Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) said, "the stabbing at the pride march is a shocking hate crime and a serious and intolerable incident that we as a moral society must not accept."

Levin remarked that "shameful and despicable violence such as this in the center of Jerusalem does not represent the beautiful face of Israel, it deeply harms the image of the state in the world and can cause serious damage to the incoming tourism potential. The legal authorities must mete out justice to the stabber and punish him severely."

Likewise Bentzi Gopshtain of the Lehava organization, which was protesting against the gay pride parade at the time, condemned the attack.

"We are against any stabbing of Jews," he said, opining that the provocative nature of the parade had incited the violence

"We came to demonstrate against the abomination parade because we think that there is no place for parades like this in Jerusalem. We are talking about a provocation which only inflames spirits, and we call on the Israel Police not to permit this rally again in Jerusalem."