President & First Lady Rivlin on Sunday hosted at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem the family of Shira Banki, along with representatives of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance (JOH), ahead of the gay pride march scheduled for next week, which marks a year since Shira was murdered in the same march.
“Shira was murdered for the freedom of every woman and man to express themselves and their sexuality freely,” said the President and continued, “The right of every man and woman to be who they are, to love as their heart desires, love that can be expressed openly. We must promote a safe public space in which even if there is disagreement, there is respect for each and every person. We must differentiate between disagreement and violent, hurtful, and destructive dialogue that at times also incites hatred.”
The President stressed, “We must end the incitement against the LGBT community, and any support that such views receive. I must say that the statements heard from the mouths of rabbis, leaders, and faith leaders have pained me greatly. I want to reiterate and remind everyone, that ‘Beloved is man created in God’s image’, any person, regardless of religion, race, or sex.” He added, “I am certain that the rabbis whom so many pupils look up to — some of them members of the LGBT community themselves — will also find a way to clarify that they don’t think otherwise.”
He continued, “Since Shira’s murder, I have initiated meetings between secular and ultra-Orthodox, right and left, men and women, so they will get to know one another, and come together united to learn, pray, and work in partnership in Shira’s memory. Political or religious differences, or differences in sexuality do not justify violence an incitement. This is not our way, not the way of Israeli society. We still have much work to do. Shira’s murder and the horrific terror attack in Orlando show that there needs to be a true effort to teach tolerance, and that a great struggle still lies before us. I congratulate the representatives of Open House for their work on behalf of the LGBTQ community, for an egalitarian, inclusive and tolerant discourse in Israel.”
Uri, Shira’s father, thanked the President for the meeting: “Such a clear, strong, firm, and public official statement calling for moderation, tolerance, and acceptance of others is something that the State of Israel needs today maybe more than anything. This is not a simple statement and it has a price as we have seen from time to time. It is a statement lacking in many places, and the words coming from this house are clear and consistent. For this our thanks go to the President and his office.”
The President responded, “Nechama and I are simply representing Shira.”
The Jerusalem District Court on Sunday sentenced Yishai Schlissel, who murdered teenage girl Shira Banki and attempted to murder others at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade last August, to life in prison with an additional 31 years. The court also fined Schlissel about $530,000 as reparations to the Banki family and to the rest of Schlissel’s victims.
Judges Nava Ben-Or, Arnon Darel and Rafi Yaakovi wrote in their sentence: “We are dealing with a man who does not recognize a human before him, a cruel, dangerous and heartless man. A man for whom the Judaism of darchey noam-pleasant paths and roads of peace, which teaches that man—every man—is beloved because he was created in the Image [of God], is foreign.” Instead, the judges wrote, the defendant views himself as “He who kills and gives life, in the name of principles he appointed himself to enforce.” The judges ruled that “this dangerous man may no longer roam the streets of Jerusalem or anywhere else.”
The judges also wrote that “in his few days of freedom between arrests, the defendant extinguished the life of a young woman who was so life loving, Shira Banki z”l who was about 16 when she dies… He did not see her as a human being at all, he did not care a hoot whose body would absorb his knife.”
Schlissel’s sentence is comprised of a life sentence for the premeditated murder, 30 year for his six convictions of attempted murder counts and inflicting injury under aggravated conditions, and one additional year which is the suspended sentence for his previous sentence.
The judges were severely critical of police for failing to learn the lesson from the 2005 Gay Pride parade in which Schlissel had been arrested for attempted murder. They blamed police for failing to stop him from carrying out the same crime only a month after his release from serving ten years for the attempted murders.
The judges also criticized the legislator for failing to provide police with the legal authority to follow and supervise dangerous criminals who have served out their sentence.
Overcast skies and sporadic showers failed to dampen the enthusiasm of tens of thousands of marchers and spectators at this year’s Celebrate Israel parade in Manhattan.
The parade, which kicked off Sunday at 11 a.m. and made its way up Fifth Avenue from 57th Street to 74th Street, drew a heavy contingent of political leaders, celebrities, and Israeli dignitaries.
Among the elected officials present were New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who that very morning ordered state agencies to divest themselves of companies and organizations aligned with the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement; Mayor Bill de Blasio, who declared that New Yorkers “believe in Israel and we have a deep love for the people of Israel”; Senator Charles Schumer; State Assemblyman David Weprin; State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli; City Comptroller Scott Stringer; New York City Public Advocate Letitia James; and representatives Charles Rangel and Kathleen Rice.
Israeli officials at the parade included UN ambassador Danny Danon; consul general Ido Aharoni; Beersheba mayor Ruvik Danilovich; and members of Knesset David Bitan (Likid), Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union), Yakov Margi (Shas), and Yoel Razvozov (Yesh Atid).
Among the celebrities showing their support of Israel were honorary grand marshal Kathie Lee Gifford (the television personality told reporters she visits Israel every year) and renowned therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who turned 88 on Saturday. Westheimer, who served as a sniper for the Haganah during Israel’s war of independence, has become a fixture at the Celebrate Israel Parade.
As always, though, the heart and soul of the parade were the marching bands, singing groups, and hundreds of day schools and organizations representing virtually all segments of the Jewish community.
Even the wet weather was seen by many as a net positive. “Let the world see that rain or shine, we come here to rally for Israel,” said a teenager marching with Brooklyn’s Yeshiva Derech HaTorah.
“Our support for Israel Doesn’t Stop for the Rain” read a sign along the parade route.
Yocheved, a 15 year old waving Israeli flags with her parents and two younger sisters, said this was her fourth Celebrate Israel Parade and it was the weather that made it special.
Before you watch the video below, please read! (From the Facebook post)
Yesterday was awesome! I mean really awesome!
There were tens of thousands of Jews who gathered in Jerusalem to sing, dance and celebrate the Jewish return to Zion. Something we dreamed about for 2,000 years. After you watch it, please share it. It is important for all to see!
While so many joined the festivities of Jerusalem Day, left wing organizations attempted to ruin the party. Many left wingers curse the day we liberated Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. They actually treat this day with disdain. It is heartbreaking to see Jews siding with our enemies instead of focusing on rejoicing with the gift we were given; Jerusalem. It is horrible to hear Jews accepting historical lies our enemies are using to justify the murder of Jews.
In past years, there have been incidents of vandalism as individuals used the celebration to vent their anger at the Islamic terror and they inexcusably took it out on random Arab people. This behavior has nothing to do with the tens of thousands of others who were there to celebrate, but facts like that do not have any importance to the left wing activists I met.
The first activist I met was Sarah Tuttle Singer. For those who don’t know Sarah, she is the head social media person at the The Times of Israel.
She did not come to march, she came to stand against the march and when I asked if she was here to celebrate, all she could do was let out a gag as if to say, “you must be kidding me!”
She was there to report on what she was hoping to see, the vandalizing minority that people like Sarah thrive on. The problem is, she did not find them! NOT ONE!
While she must have been disappointed that she was unable to justify her rabid anti Jerusalem Day parade attitude, she was unable to admit it as she wrote her status that evening and said that others were saying this was one of the most calmest Jerusalem Day Parades. What do you mean others said, YOU WERE THERE SARAH! Can’t you admit you were MISTAKEN!
I asked her several questions about her political views which she had a hard time explaining and then I shut off the phone per her request. We did continue talking and as she usually does, she began to use profanity and sexual innuendo. She proudly told me how the Muslims in the area are her friends and I explained to her that is because she shares the same views as they do. I challenged her to go into the market and ask the first Muslim why they built a mosque on our Temple Mount and see how friendly they react. I offered to join her in the market as we challenge any Arab shop owner to give a date when Israel occupied Palestine from them or when such a country called Palestine ever existed. At first she agreed and then she said that she does not want to cause incitement…
CASE CLOSED! She did promise we would do so in the future…ya never know.
Next I met people from an organization call Tag Meir. This is an organization that fights Jewish violence and says absolutely nothing about Islamic terror. This is not a charge I am making, this is their charter.
The problem is not that this organization is opposed to random acts of violence by Jews, the problem is the Muslims they were giving flowers to are the ones who believe they are justified in attempting to destroy Israel and murder Jews. The leftists claimed 4 Arabs have been murdered by “Tag Mechir” over the last 68 years. I do not know who those 4 are but even if the number is true and unfortunate, not sure 4 murders justifies an organization to give flowers out to those who encourage the murder of Jews or focus on Jewish acts of vandalism while ignoring the thousands of Jews murdered by radical Islamic terror.
The bonus round was the Young Arab lady who was there and who claimed we occupied Jerusalem from the Arabs in 1984!!! When asked when an Arab Palestine country existed pre-Israel, she really lost it. Unfortunately my phone shut off and I did not get the Israeli women who claimed that Israel was the one who refused the partition plan because we wanted war with the Arabs. I tried to get her name to have her repeat her ludicrous claims afterwards but she naturally refused.
I then met a guy with another left wing, self hating organization that was there specifically to catch any Jews who bangs on Arab doors. The problem is not that they wanted to catch these vandals, the problem was they were spreading libels against the tens of thousands of people there as if they were involved in a crime that simply did not happen yet! They were there not to cover the event but to cover the person who is misbehaving and they made it perfectly clear that they were indeed generalizing.
Why is this important to see?
It is important to see because today’s war is an information war and it must be known that we have people from within who are simply misinformed and causing tremendous harm to Israel. We must not be silent! We must stand up and shout the truth.
Talking about shouting, my blood was boiling! How could Jews act like this and side with our enemies?
It was dry and cozy at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, where NY Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday announced a new executive order that bans companies supporting a boycott of Israeli products from doing business with NY State agencies. Outside, on Fifth Avenue, the stubborn marching groups of the 52nd annual Celebrate Israel parade were pushing ever forward under the persistent rain.
Gov. Cuomo spoke to an audience that included many Jewish leaders and lawmakers, describing the BDS movement as an “economic attack” on Israel. “We cannot allow that to happen,” the governor said, according to the NY Times. “If you boycott against Israel, New York will boycott you.”
Mr. Cuomo signed the executive order, and then joined the wet masses in the parade.
The BDS usual suspects, such as the movement’s Qatari founder Omar Barghouti, called Cuomo’s move part of Israel’s “legal warfare against BDS,” and complained that Israel was trying to “delegitimize the boycott.” Mostly because the boycott represents an effort to delete, not just delegitimize Israel.
The governor later tweeted: “What a great honor it was to march in the @CelebrateIsrael parade today.”
It may have rained on Sunday in Manhattan literally, but it didn’t rain on Israel’s parade figuratively, as the Broadway Cast of Fiddler on the Roof, the band SOULFARM, – the Paprim Ensemble Dancers of Israel Dance Institute, and the Maccabeats — to name but a few — did their thing down the avenue.
Marching Bands included NYC Police, Cadets, Fusion Core, Saint Brigades Drum & Bugle Corps, Connecticut Hurricanes, Bushwhackers Drum & Bugle Corps, Long Island Sunrisers Drum & Bugle Corps, Upper Schuylkill Marching Band, Raiders Drum & Bugle Corps, Excelsior Drum & Bugle Corps, and Skyliners.
The parade featured floats and vehicles from the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, American Friends of Magen David Adom, American Technion Society, American Zionist Movement, Ariel University, Avi Chai Foundation, Bank Leumi, Bnei Akiva of the United States and Canada, Carmel, EL AL & Israel Ministry of Tourism, Gift of Life Marrow Registry, Dr. Felix Glaubach & Family, Hazon, Hebron Fund, Hillel Yeshiva, IDB Bank, IDT Corporation, Israel Bonds, State of Israel, Jfiix, Jewish Agency, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Jewish National Fund, Kars 4 Kids, Kids of Courage, Nefesh B’ Nefesh, One Israel Fund, Russian American Jewish Experience, Sephardic Heritage Alliance Inc. & Iranian American Jewish Federation, Stand With Us, and UJA-Federation of NY.
Finally, this is the complete list of the marching groups:
92nd St Y/Jdate
AJC-American Jewish Committee
American Russian Jewish Community Cluster /COJECO
American Veterans of Israel Legacy
AIFL-American Israel Friendship League
Ben Porat Yosef
Berman Hebrew Academy – Rockville, MD
Bi-Cultural Day School
Bnei Akiva of US and Canada
Boy/Girl Scouts of America
Center for Jewish Life
Congregation Or Zarua
Cyprus Federation of America
Eagles Wings Ministries
East Midwood Hebrew Day School
Friends of Israel Scouts – Tzofim Tzabar
Friends of the IDF
Friends of Yashar LaChayal /East Brunswick Tri-Synagogue Alliance
Golda Och Academy
H.E.S. Hebrew Educational Society
HAFTR Lower/Middle/High School
HALB Middle School
Hannah Senesh Community Day School
JAFI – Jewish Agency International Development
JCRC – Long Island
Jewish Educational Center
Jewish Educational Center – Bruriah
Jewish Educational Center – Mesivta,
Jewish Federation Northeastern, PA
Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, NJ
Jewish Federation of North NJ
Jewish Federation Rockland County
Jewish Foundation School
Jewish War Veterans of the USA
Joseph Kushner Academy/Rae Kushner HS
Kinneret Day School
Lone Soldier Center
Lower Merion Cluster
Ma’ayanot Yeshiva HS for Girls
Magen David Yeshiva Celia Esses High School
Magen David Yeshivah (2015 Winner)
Maimonides Academy – Los Angeles
Manhattan Day School
Manhattan Jewish Experience
Marks Jewish Community House
Marlboro Jewish Center
Monmouth County – Federation from the Heart of NJ
National Conference of Shomrim Societies
Northeast Queens JCC
Northshore Hebrew Academy Middle/High Schools
OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services / Camp Kaylie
Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School
Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva (2015 Winner)
Ramaz School Middle/High Schools
Rambam Mesivta – Midreshet Shalhevet
Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey
SAR Academy/High School
Shulamith School for Girls – Cedarhurst
Shulamith School for Girls of Brooklyn
Skaters and Bladers in Memory of JJ Greenberg
Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County
Solomon Schechter School of Long Island
Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan
Solomon Schechter School of Queens
Solomon Schechter School of Westchester
Team Lifeline (Chai Lifeline)
Temple Beth Abraham
Temple Israel of Great Neck
Temple Sholom of West Essex
Torah Academy of Bergen County -TABC
UJ Federation of Greater Toronto
United Congregations for Israel
United Mashadi Jewish Committee of America – UMJCA
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism/USY
Volunteers for Israel
Westchester Day School (2015 Winner)
Westchester Hebrew High School
Westchester Jewish Council
Yavneh Academy (2015 Winner)
YB Hillel of Passaic
Yeshiva at the Jersey Shore/Congregation Brothers of Israel
Yeshiva Derech HaTorah
Yeshiva Har Torah
Yeshiva High School 0f Boca Raton
Yeshiva of Central Queens (2015 Winner)
Yeshivah of Flatbush Middle/High School (2015 Winner)
ZOA – Zionist Organziation of America
The measures were taken so as to ease the movement of PA citizens who wish to visit family, travel abroad via Ben Gurion International Airport, receive visitors from abroad, or travel to Jerusalem to pray at the mosque on the Temple Mount.