Haredim refuse to attend a speech given by Uri Banki, father of Shira Banki, who was murdered by Yishai Schlissel at the Jerusalem LGBT Pride Parade in 2015, at a joint municipal committee hearing on LGBT communities in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, ultra-Orthodox council members from various factions refused to attend a joint municipal committee hearing concerning LGBT communities and rights in Jerusalem. This comes three weeks after the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar, called the gay community “a cult of abomination.”

Uri Banki, the father of Shira Banki who was murdered at the gay pride parade in Jerusalem in 2015, said, “This committee is taking the community, putting it on the map and saying ‘we will not let you disgrace, murder or curse us. We won’t allow you to trample on us.'”

Shani Banki
Shani Banki


The committee was held to raise awareness on services offered by city bodies and companies to the LGBT community. Among the issues raised in the discussion was promotion of community clinics with services to the gay community, training nurses to deal with single-sex parent families and investments in organizations dealing with issues of sexual identity in different sector, such as with Arabs and the Haredim.

Addressing the meeting, Uri Banki said, “In this city, we have enough wars and enough people who love to fight. The purpose of such an event is to lift up a community without stepping on someone else. We can’t achieve anything without connecting.”

Itai Gutler, the city councillor charged with LGBT community issues, added, “For many years, the issue of the LGBT community was excluded from discussions at city hall. As a council member, it is important for me, especially in light of what Rabbi Amar said and the murder of Shira Banki, to say to the gay community ‘welcome.’ I am proud to make a little history here. We are not ashamed of the gay community. We accept it and we embrace it and we as a city will do that is necessary to ensure that all issues will be addressed.”

As reported by Ynetnews