"I do not accept this court's authority. This court does not follow the rules of the holy Torah. This court is part of the mechanism of evil. I have no interest in cooperating at all. I do not recognize any of the regime's institutions."
Above: Yishai Schlissel yesterday and moments after the 2005 attack
Last updated 9:05 am CDT
Haredi Gay Pride Stabber Rejects Authority Of The Court As Police Say It Wasn’t Their Job To Monitor Him
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Yishai Schlissel, the haredi man who stabbed six people at yesterday’s Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem, had his remand extended for 12 days by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court today – a court he says he does not recognize.
At the same time, police districts fought over which of them should have monitored Schlissel on his release from prison three weeks ago after serving a 10-year sentence for another anti-gay knife attack on the same parade a decade ago.
But even though they were notified of his release and it was clear Schlissel was unrepentant, Israel Police did not monitor him at all – even on the day of the parade. That failure – which many people believe was an intentional lapse and not a mistake – gave Schlissel nearly open access to the parade route, which he used to try to murder six people yesterday.
The parade itself had only sparse police protection according to some gay activists, despite the fact that Schlissel was now free and had made open threats against the parade and its organizers – including some threats made during a radio interview only days before.
However, Israeli media, including Ha’aretz, reported the parade had “heavy” police protection – even though that supposedly “heavy” police protection doesn’t seem to be represented in many photos and video of the event. (A term like “heavy” or, for that matter, “sparse” is not an absolute measurement and either is open to wide interpretation.)
According to a separate report in Ha'aretz, during security briefings before this year's parade, clear instructions were given to police officers to stop any from approaching the parade. Officers were instructed to ask any haredi trying to do so to identify themselves and state their business. Officers were also told to watch for haredim masquerading as a seculars in order to gain access to the parade.
But despite these briefings and despite the fact that Jerusalem District Intelligence had flagged Schlissel as someone who was likely to try to harm members of the gay community, security camera video reportedly shows Schlissel easily entered the heart of the parade, and did so by walking past police officers unhindered.
The chief of the Jerusalem District Police Moshe Edry reportedly claimed police did not have concrete intelligence that Schlissel was in the area at the time of the parade, even though Schlissel's appearance is almost identical to what it was in 2005 and he made no attempt to disguise his appearance.
"We were prepared for every scenario, but our perimeter was breached. This is a severe, difficult incident, which requires us to investigate to find out what fault cause this breach," Edry said.
After the 2005 knife attack against the parade that injured four people, Schlissel – who was caught redhanded then just as he was this year – was convicted of attempted murder and aggravated assault. He was given the supposedly “heavy” sentence of 12 years in prison – only 3 years for each attempted murder.
But Schlissel appealed that “heavy” sentence to Israel’s Supreme Court in 2007. It found in Schlissel’s favor and reduced his sentence to 10 years – 2-1/2 years for each attempted murder.
When he was released from prison three weeks ago, Schlissel reportedly went home to the West Bank haredi settlement of Modi’in Ilit and began writing and distributing handwritten letters and pamphlets calling on "all Jews faithful to God" to risk potential "beatings and imprisonment" and act to prevent the upcoming Gay Pride Parade from taking place. He also gave an interview to small haredi radio station echoing the same call to violence.
Haredi social media groups lit up with warnings that Schlissel would attack this year’s parade, and as the day of the parade approached, the online chatter – some in support of Schlissel – allegedly grew.
Israel Police, however, says it noticed none of this.
Yesterday after the six Gay Pride marchers were stabbed, the Judea and Samaria Police District (the unit of the Israel Police responsible for policing most Jewish settlements on the West Bank, including Schlissel’s Modi’in Ilit) said it was not supposed to monitor Schlissel after his release from prison because the crime Schlissel committed in 2005 was committed in Jerusalem, which is covered by another police district. That Schlissel lives in Modi’in Ilit in the Judea and Samaria Police District’s jurisdiction is not relevant.
So far, no government minister has publicly reprimanded the Israel Police for its clear failures in this case – which again points to a lack of seriousness of this government to equally enforce the law. Israel's public security minister did, however, order an investigation.
Nonetheless, at today’s court hearing, Schlissel said he refused to accept the jurisdiction or validity of the court.
"I do not accept this court's authority. This court does not follow the rules of the holy Torah. This court is part of the mechanism of evil. I have no interest in cooperating at all. I do not recognize any of the regime's institutions,” Schlissel reportedly said.
Four of Schlissel’s victims from yesterday’s attack are still hospitalized. One of them, a 17-year-old girl, is still in critical condition with deep puncture chest and shoulder wounds. She was transferred today from Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem to a specialized critical care unit at Hadassah Medical Center that deals with cardiac neurological trauma.
While a few haredi rabbis whose jobs involve interaction with the wider non-haredi public have openly condemned the stabbings, Schlissel's own rabbis have not.