JERUSALEM (JTA) – Six marchers were stabbed at Jerusalem’s annual gay pride parade, leaving one in critical condition and two in serious condition.
The suspect, reported to be a haredi Orthodox man protesting Thursday’s parade, is in custody, according to reports. He reportedly used a kitchen knife.
Israeli media reported that the attacker is the same person who stabbed three people at the Jerusalem pride parade in 2005. Yishai Schlissel was released from prison two weeks ago, according to the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance.
The injured were treated on the scene before being evacuated to local hospitals.
Thousands participated in the 14th annual Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance.
Hundreds of police and Border Police officers were placed along the parade route to protect the marchers.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack. “In the state of Israel the individual’s freedom of choice is one of basic values. We must ensure that in Israel, every man and woman lives in security in any way they choose. That’s how we acted in the past and how we’ll continue to act. I wish the wounded a speedy recovery,” he said in a statement.
Naftali Bennett, head of the Jewish Home Party called the stabbing a “moral crime that cannot be forgiven,” Haaretz reported.
“Whoever did it harmed Jewish and moral values, and must be punished with the utmost severity. When events are clarified Israeli society must do some soul searching to understand how it has come to this,” Bennett said.
Zehava Gal-On, head of the Meretz party, in a Facebook post called on Netanyahu to “stop the public atmosphere that makes possible the shedding of blood among Jerusalem’s pride (gay) community.”