Last summer, during a gay pride parade in Jerusalem, an ultra-Orthodox Jew named Yishai Schlissel went on a rampage, stabbing six people and killing one of them, a 16-year-old girl. His ultra-Orthodox community is known for its “hostility towards homosexuals.”
It wasn’t his first time committing an act like this, either. In 2005, he stabbed three people and was sentenced to a dozen years in prison. He had been released for just a few weeks before he decided to strike again at last year’s parade.
The question now was whether his punishment for the more recent stabbings would be appropriately severe. I’m happy to say he’ll be spending the rest of his life behind bars.
Led into the courtroom on Sunday with his hands and feet shackled, Schlissel was sentenced to life plus 31 years, a court statement said.
He was also ordered to pay 2,064,000 shekels ($531,000, 478,000 euros).
Sarah Kala, executive director of Jerusalem Open House LGBT centre, said after the sentencing that “it’s another step to try and deter the terrible homophobia raging on our streets.
“They don’t usually give the maximum possible sentence, but in our view to know that Yishai Schlissel will stay in prison for the rest of his days is certainly something that comforts us a little,” she told public radio.
Hopefully, that’ll be enough of a disincentive for anyone else in his community considering a similar act of violence.
I’d still like to know if his ultra-Orthodox community is doing anything substantive to curb the anti-LGBT rhetoric that led Schlissel to think killing others was necessary. If they don’t see a problem with their religious hate speech, it’s likely this won’t be the last time we hear of a tragedy of this sort.
(Image via Reddit. Thanks to Jaynee for the link)