Repeat offender suspected in ultra-Orthodox stabbing at Jerusalem pride parade

Six people were stabbed at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem earlier today in what appears to be a religiously-motivated attack from a repeat offender.

Israeli police have taken Yishai Shilissel into custody following the attack. Shilissel was released from prison three weeks ago after serving ten years of a twelve year sentence for stabbing gay pride marchers in 2005.

Shilissel had reportedly circulated a threatening letter on Twitter before the march, and had distributed handwritten notes to his neighbors calling on “all Jews faithful to God” to risk “beatings and imprisonment” in order to prevent the parade from taking place. This, combined with frequent ultra-Orthodox protests at gay pride marches, led many to wonder why there wasn’t a greater police presence at the parade to protect marchers. As Aaron Ben-Zev, who attended the march, said to Buzzfeed:

Jerusalem Pride, via Wikimedia Commons

Jerusalem Pride, via Wikimedia Commons

Where were the police? Of course, we won’t let this stop us from marching, but we have to ask, where were the police? Especially when they know the ultra-Orthodox have threatened us in the past…

…I could hear them screaming stuff at us about how we were animals, how god would punish us. I don’t understand how they are allowed to carry on with that kind of incitement.

Police had granted a permit for 30 religious activists to protest the parade today. It is unclear if Shilissel was originally part of that protest, or if he went to the parade on his own.

As Haaretz reported, Shilissel was not tracked following his release, despite the clear danger he posed to Israel’s LGBT community, due to what appears to be a bureaucratic and geographic loophole:

The Judea and Samaria Police District said after the attack that they were not supposed to track Schlissel after his release, even though he resides in their jurisdiction, because his crime was perpetrated in the Jerusalem district.

Israeli politicians on the right were quick to condemn the attack, with Minister Naftali Bennet, head of the nationalist Habayit Hayehudi Party party saying in a statement:

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.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also condemned the attacks, but, unlike opposition leader Isaac Herzog, didn’t explicitly call them a hate crime.

Of the six victims, one woman is in critical condition and two men were moderately wounded. Two men and one woman suffered what are being described as light wounds.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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55 Responses to “Repeat offender suspected in ultra-Orthodox stabbing at Jerusalem pride parade”

  1. IsaacLHawk says:

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  2. ShirleyRManley says:

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  3. TheAngryFag says:

    Agreed. I remember seeing some right-wing “patriot” with a sign that said “Not All Muslims Are Terrorists, But All Terrorists Are Muslim” and my first thought was “When did the IRA convert?”

  4. TheAngryFag says:

    Part of the problem is people are too scared of being labeled “anti-Christian” and/or “anti-Semitic” in order to call a spade a spade. The classic example is that if you disagree with the political decisions/actions of Israel, you are somehow anti-Semitic.

    The other part is that we as a species have allowed a descent back towards to the Dark Ages where we put religion up on a pedestal and is sacrosanct. We’re seeing that now with the rush to enshrine anti-gay bigotry as “religious freedom”.

  5. TheAngryFag says:

    That’s pretty much it in the context of what we usually see in this day and age. Most terrorists hold extremist viewpoints so we but the distinction between the two is a bit more than that.

    But, taking it back to their respective definitions, courtesy Merriam-Webster, extremism is “belief in and support for ideas that are very far from what most people consider correct or reasonable” and terrorism is “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” Of course in the definition of terrorism, politics is synonymous with religion because let’s face it, religion IS politics.

    Terrorism is a pretty concrete definition but Extremism relies on the context of “what most people consider correct or reasonable” so there’s a societal component to it. You can think of extremism almost like obscenity; it’s in the eye of the beholder.

  6. FLL says:

    That was a hypothetical example. I tried to make it a humorous example. Relaaaax. That was just meant to point out the difference between a personal attack (example 1) and hate speech (example 2). I want to point out that difference because I really think it’s important, even though different countries have different laws regarding hate speech. I’ll make that argument on another thread, and I’ll just say “personal attacks” (no hypothetical example) so that people cannot possibly take offense.

  7. Moderator3 says:

    Then please respond to those comments without personal attacks. As for the mama comment, that sounds like something a six year old would say. Don’t react like a six year old. I raised two children, so I have little tolerance for adults acting like children.

  8. FLL says:

    My reply contained several long paragraphs. Only the first few sentences made reference to Bill’s claim about a personal attack. As far as the rest of my long reply, my point was about hate speech. I think we can agree that I should make that point in an independent comment on another thread.

  9. Moderator3 says:

    What’s your point? I thought I made it clear that I didn’t see it as a personal attack.

  10. Bill_Perdue says:

    In my opinion calling me biased is a personal attack, but if I’m allowed to respond to those I will.

  11. FLL says:

    Please see my reply to you about hate speech and laws in other countries.

  12. FLL says:

    Below, Bill claims that the following constitutes a personal attack:

    “Yep, no bias here at all.”

    That is a suggestion that the author’s comments about Israelis contain excessive bias. That is not an attack by anyone’s definition. In the comments to which Doug was replying, Bill quoted an article from CommonDreams. If you’ll read the article, you’ll find that the author criticizes the Israeli forces for choking and/or beating Palestinian children between the ages of 11 and 15 who were accused of throwing rocks. Bill then takes this linked article (which the average reader may or may not read) and uses it to fabricate his own fictitious charge:

    The zionist state has a widespread culture of rape and it seems as if most of the leaders of the zionist colony are involved.”
    Nowhere in the CommonDreams article is rape mentioned, and I’m sure everyone understands what rape is. Bill is spreading a lie about an entire nation and its population. That is hate speech. Now we have very robust freedom of speech in the United States. You can publicly say just about anything. However, Moderator 3, it might be wise to keep in mind that in a large number of very civilized countries (Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Austria, to name only a few), Bill’s hate speech might very well result in prosecution. Consider the following examples:

    (1) Yo’ mama is an idiot and she dresses you funny.
    (2) There is a widespread culture in Israel of raping Palestinian children, generally perpetrated by the Israeli armed forces. (A false charge)

    Example is, I believe, centers around the recent conversation on these comment pages about “personal attacks.” Example (1) would not be illegal and subject to prosecution in any country. Example (2), in contrast, would run afoul of hate crime laws in many, many countries, and if you pushed the envelope and tried to publish example (2) in a book, it probably would lead to prosecution. Regardless of what you think of the wisdom of hate speech laws in Canada, Europe and elsewhere, I think it would be prudent to let folks know that hate speech, although legal, is not the look that Americablog is going for.

  13. Moderator3 says:

    It depends on your response.

    No, that was not an attack, that was an opinion. You of all people should know that we allow opinions from commenters. Bill, your comments are flagged a lot. To my knowledge, we always approve your comments and send them back to the threads.

  14. Bill_Perdue says:

    No, using flags does not constitute a personal attack. This does “Yep, no bias here at all.” I present facts and data not bias. But if I’m free to respond to his views I will.

  15. Moderator3 says:

    If the attacks are particularly vicious or constant, we may consider a timeout. However, those comments did not seem to be personal attacks. How is an editorial cartoon a personal attack? Could you be using flags as personal attacks?

  16. ComradeRutherford says:

    Interesting semantic point. When an extremist actually DOES something, rather than just talk about it, then they crossover into being a terrorist?

  17. Betty M. McKinney says:

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  18. Bill_Perdue says:

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention. This is just another example of the constant, almost, daily ethnic cleansing policy of the zionist colonial state and the colonial settlers. Their central goal has always been to use terror to steal land and enforce apartheid. They’ve never varied from that.

    And now they’re openly discussing genocide. “Moshe Feiglin, the deputy speaker of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, has published a plan for the total destruction of the Palestinian people in Gaza. His detailed plan, which calls for the use of concentration camps, amounts to direct and public incitement to genocide – a punishable crime under the Genocide Convention.”

    Feiglin is not only advocate for genocide. “Just days before the seven-week siege of Gaza this past July and August that left some 2,000 Palestinians dead, 11,000 injured and 100,000 homeless, Israeli lawmaker Ayelet Shaked, a senior figure in the Jewish Home Party that is part of Israel’s ruling coalition, posted on Facebook that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy . . . including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure. … Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. … Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

    There’s nothing new in this latest atrocity. The colony that the US and the zionists created is a colonial interloper steeped in racism against Palestinians Arabs, muslims and Africans. It’s a state with a rape culture and one that emphasizes the murder of children, as we saw last year when these same kind of thugs burned a boy alive and when IDF thugs targeted schools and children playing on the beach for mass murder.

    The awful violence and racism of the zionist colony, exemplified by the mass murder of children will go on until the zionist colonial state is dissolved and the system of apartheid ended and the millions of Palestinians who have been forced off their land can return and reclaim their lands and business.

  19. Bill_Perdue says:


  20. Doug105 says:

    Its not a personal attack, it’s a repudiation of your political points and the ideology behind them.
    Also, my understanding is that we were to discontinue at that time not forever, but fine.

  21. Bill_Perdue says:

    “Anyway, I’m done with this thread.” The best thing to do when dealing with FLL or Doug105 is to make your political points and ignore their personal attacks.

    I don’t have to tell you that there’s a vast radicalization taking place here and globally. In the internet that’s expressed by the large numbers of people moving left and in response to that, the deliberate strategy of rightists like zionists, racist islamophobes and many Democrats and Republicans to deflect the discussion from the crimes of the zionists and the right into a shouting match where where they trade insults for real discussion of issues.

    It is best to ignore them. I comment on well over a dozen sites and serious commenter are getting adept at ignoring them. Here, Jon the moderators say they want to avoid comments dissolving into personal attacks.

  22. Bill_Perdue says:

    I flagged two comment by DOUG 105. I flagged them because the moderators instructed Doug105 and I not to comment one another’s each to to avoid the kind of personal attacks we see here.

    I have a question for the moderators. I haven’t replied to his comments since. He continues to make personal attacks instead of political comments. Is your policy still in force?

  23. Bill_Perdue says:

  24. Doug105 says:

    Yep, no Antisemitism there at all.

  25. Doug105 says:

    To often people on either side refuse to call terrorism for what it is because it’s the right religious cult, there is a lot of that in the US with christianity.

  26. GarySFBCN says:

    How is your agreement to not mention Nicho’s relatives (getting personal and off-topic) in any way related to what Nicho post about current events, regardless if you agree with his assessment?

    Anyway, I’m done with this thread.

  27. FLL says:

    From my reply to Nicho above:

    However, I’ll give you and the owner of the blog a promise that, from this sentence on and in any future comment, I will make not mention your relatives.

    I have a feeling that my agreement will not be met with any similar commitment to integrity. My guess is that I’ll continue to see wildly misleading comments, like Nicho’s “Israelis burn Palestinian baby to death.” Comments like that are untruthful and just plain vile. And what a happy coincidence that comments from your echo chamber are always in defense of powers that are the most extreme persecutors of LGBT people in the world.

  28. GarySFBCN says:

    While it is quite possible that may have made a personal attack against you sometime back, that is no excuse for your personal attacks and vendettas now.

  29. FLL says:

    Israelis? Plural, as in the Israeli government or army? Read your own link, Sparky. A Jewish setter committed arson in retaliation for something. We don’t know what it was in retaliation for because the Russia Today author doesn’t bother to tell us. The author does mention in the last sentence of the article that the Israeli government intends to prosecute the settler for the arson. But no one would know any of that from reading you reply. Once again I ask you: How stupid do you think Americablog readers are? And once again I ask you: Why the strident defense of every world actor that persecutes LGBT people?

  30. FLL says:

    I addressed the content of Nicho’s post and my response to it in the first two sentences of my reply to you.

    In a previous post, Jon Green criticized human rights abuses in a Muslim country. All I did in my reply to you was note that you asked me if I was a relative of Jon. Apparently, you thought that could be the only explanation for someone disagreeing with you. That’s not a personal attack. In fact, the attack was on your part since you were claiming that I couldn’t be disagreeing with you in good faith.

  31. Moderator3 says:

    I’m not rolling right now.

  32. GarySFBCN says:

    I responded regarding the content of your original response to Nicho. You responded with another personal attack. You also brought Nicho’s sister into the conversation.

    While I do pity you, the moderators should not tolerate your personal attacks and vendettas.

    Grow up.

  33. FLL says:

    I despise Netanyahu and his expansionist policies, but the orthodox religious parties are only a part of his coalition. If, as Nicho claims, the Israeli government has been “pretty much taken over by religious fundamentalists,” there wouldn’t be gay pride parades in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Even you can figure that out. Oh, that’s right. You’re the dim bulb on the Christmas tree who, on a previous thread, thought that because I didn’t support human rights abuse throughout the Muslim world, I must be a relative of Jon Green. You even had the moderators rolling in the aisles. Yes, Einstein, it’s possible for someone to disagree with you without being a family relation of the person who wrote the post. Keep ’em laughing, Gary.

  34. FLL says:

    Let’s consider you and those who consistently agree with your assessment of human rights in the Muslim world as a group. I have never made reference to a specific relative of anyone in this group—except you—because no one in that group has made mention of a relative. Your own comment about your sister was very neutral in tone concerning political conservatism or liberalism. Actually, the tone of your comment was rather breezy, if I remember. Considering your history of enthusiasm for scenarios (foreign and domestic) that have disastrous consequences for LGBT people in particular and progressives in general, your comment was like fingernails on a chalkboard—even if that was not your intention. However, I’ll give you and the owner of the blog a promise that, from this sentence on and in any future comment, I will make not mention your relatives. I suppose I could ask you not to take that simple agreement and twist it like a pretzel to put words in my mouth, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you did.

    As far as your accusation that I support and apologize for “pro-Zionist terrorism,” the only mention of the Middle East in my reply was a one-sentence factual comparison between the number (and anti-gay police violence) of pride parades in the Middle East. I think you’ve tipped your hand, Nicho. All I did was criticize the horrendous human rights abuse against gay people in the Muslim world, and you make it clear that this is what irks you—after all, it’s the only mention of the Middle East in my reply. In addition, I’ve never espoused support for the Netanyahu regime, and I’ve constantly condemned the Netanyahu regime in my comments. Check my history. (Unlike some, my history is not “locked”.) So I think that characterizing my criticism of the oppression of LGBT people in the Muslim world as an apology for “pro-Zionist terrorism” is inaccurate, wouldn’t you say, Sparky?

    No, you can’t wiggle out of this one, Nicho: one sentence from me about pride parades and a response from you complete with a deceptive description of a retaliation arson committed by a Jewish settler as, in your words, “Israelis burn Palestinian baby to death.” Makes it sound like it was Israeli soldiers, doesn’t it? Unless the reader takes the time to follow the link to the article. And what is the source of the article, and part of your standard reading fare? Russia Today! No wonder the author of the article didn’t bother to mention what the arson attack was in retaliation for. Not only that, but your reply failed to mention the sentence at the end of the Russia Today article concerning the apprehension of the criminal: “PM Netanyahu said that the perpetrators of the attack would be brought to book.” How stupid do you think Americablog readers are? Since you didn’t anticipate that anyone would actually read the Russia Today, my guess is that the average Americablog reader is smarter than you. And Russia Today?! Putin’s mouthpiece? Oh, that’s right. Putin bans gay pride parades in Russia, just like they do in the Muslim world (notwithstanding Turkish police attacking the gay pride parade with water canons). Gee, do you think people can discern a pattern? So I take it that your threat to Americablog readers runs something like this:

    “Don’t criticize human rights abuse in the Muslim world or I’ll respond by linking to Russia Today articles about criminal arsonists who are being prosecuted by the Israeli government, but describe it as “Israelis burn Palestinian baby to death.

    That’s a silly threat, and I don’t think it will discourage discussion of the Middle East.

    So why the strident defense of every world actor that persecutes LGBT people? I doubt if I’m the only one who’s curious.

  35. Butch1 says:

    Perhaps he needs treatment to go with his jail-time. Religious indoctrination did this to him perhaps he needs an “intervention” to snap him out of it. Take his Torah away from him and make sure he is not visited by any orthodox rabbis from his synagogue. (I know this is impossible, but this person needs life imprisonment. He’s going to do it again when he gets out unless he’s so old he’s crawling by then. Perhaps he’ll be stabbing their feet at that point. (still a threat.) ;-)

  36. Butch1 says:

    Perhaps it’s time for this POS to serve some long jail time. He obviously hasn’t learned his lesson and will continue to repeat trying to kill others. He needs to be taken out of society where he cannot hurt others again.

    This is just another example of what religion can do to a person who “awakes, eats, breathes, reads, and recites this nonsense” to the point where you are so brainwashed that you have a mental disease and “god” tells you to go out and kill them. He is ill and we all need to be protected from these mentally sick people.

  37. 2karmanot says:

    Exactly so.

  38. nicho says:

    BTW, I don’t know ahat my sister has to do with this, but I’ll thank you to keep her out of your pro-Zionist terrorism apology.

  39. nicho says:

    Israelis burn Palestinian baby to death just for the heck of it.

    But, hey, what the fuck. They had a goddam parade.

  40. Hue-Man says:

    How can anyone react to this with anything but revulsion? With Vancouver Pride this Sunday, the worst injuries we can expect for participants and spectators are blisters, sunburns, and dehydration – this outrage is a fundamental attack on people’s right to exist, to gather, and to enjoy life.

    And I’m sorry, I don’t consider any knife injuries to be “light wounds”.

  41. TheAngryFag says:

    Replace “extremist” with “terrorist” and your comment is fixed.

  42. TheAngryFag says:

    Let’s look at this in a broader picture. This guy was released after 10 years, his sentence was 12, for stabbing people as an act of religious terrorism. He was released and promptly did it again.

    Israel now wants to sentence people who are defending their homes and throw rocks to 20 years in prison.

  43. Palto says:

    Hang this bastard. Disgusting vermin that It is. Too bad one of the parade goers didn’t have a gun to shoot it right between it’s unibrowed eyes.

  44. Bill_Perdue says:

    It was founded by terrorists and as the ethnic cleansing of last year and the mass murders of Palestinians in Gaza demonstrate, it remains a terrorist state.

  45. Bill_Perdue says:

    I don’t think anyone has been convicted in the murders that took place in 2009 at the Jaffa LGBT center.

    When asked by Pew Research whether or not ‘Society Should Accptp Homosexualtiy” 47% said no and 40% said yes in polling conducted, or a least reported, in 2013.

  46. Bill_Perdue says:

    The zionist colonial state is exhibiting the usual signs of capitalism in its death agony. The includes high levels of homophobia, child abuse, rape and anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab and anti African racsim. Those characteristics are similar to those in the US but often take on exaggerated forms determined by the role of the zionist colony as a terrorist state that practices ethnic cleansing and which is undergoing extreme lurches to the right.

    “New Probe Exposes Horrific Child Abuse by Israeli Forces – Palestinian children face chokeholds, stun grenades, and forced confessions at the hands of Israeli forces, Human Rights Watch report reveals.

    The zionist state has a widespread culture of rape and it seems as if most of the leaders of the zionsit colony are involved. David Sheen is a reporter and content editor at

    Israel’s Palestinian Residents Are Treated as Second-Class Citizens – The country’s political leadership is actively enacting laws that ensure a pervasive institutionalized system of discrimination.”

    New survey challenges Israel’s gay-friendly image Survey by American research institute reveals Israel might be gay capital of Middle East, but lags behind western countries when it comes to accepting its gay brethern: only 40% of Israelis think LGBT community should be accepted, versus 88% in Spain. Huge gap exists between secular (61% support), religious (26%),7340,L-4391274,00.html

  47. ComradeRutherford says:

    “Shilissel was released from prison three weeks ago after serving ten years of a twelve year sentence for stabbing gay pride marchers in 2005.”

    Clearly not enough prison time for this hate-filled extremist. Life in prison is the only humane treatment.

  48. Bill_Perdue says:

    Islamophobia as defined by the UN: “SECRETARY-GENERAL, ADDRESSING HEADQUARTERS SEMINAR ON CONFRONTING ISLAMOPHOBIA … Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s address to the Department of Public Information (DPI) seminar, “Confronting Islamophobia: Education for Tolerance and Understanding”, in New York, today, 7 December 2004: It is a pleasure to welcome you to the United Nations, as you heard, for the second in our series on “Unlearning Intolerance”. I would like to thank Professor Nasr, one of the world’s leading Islamic scholars, for joining us today. I am grateful as well to the other panellists for their participation. When a new word enters the language, it is often the result of a scientific advance or a diverting fad. But when the world is compelled to coin a new term to take account of increasingly widespread bigotry, that is a sad and troubling development. Such is the case with Islamophobia.

  49. GarySFBCN says:

    Nothing you wrote refutes what Nicho wrote.

  50. BeccaM says:

    Ever notice how the almighty Sky Tyrant doesn’t seem to do his own smiting anymore? It seems always to be some atrocity or massacre committed by those who claim to know with inerrant certainty what the Sky Tyrant wants and has commanded, albeit absent any sort of concrete proof.

    Then again, there’s every likelihood this has always been the case.

  51. FLL says:

    There’s an annual Tel Aviv pride parade and and annual Jerusalem pride parade. The score for the entire Muslim world is exactly one pride parade in Istanbul, Turkey, which was dispersed this year by the Turkish authorities using water canons. You do the math.

  52. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Any fundamentalist (no matter what religion) is a potential domestic terrorist.

  53. nicho says:

    Well, when you have a state that was founded by terrorists and has been pretty much taken over by religious fundamentalists, things are bound to go a bit awry now and then.

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