The Orthodox Jewish terrorist who stabbed several people at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem did the same thing ten years earlier. He was let out early, before the parade, serving a fraction of the time Palestinians are sentenced for attempted murder. He even publicized his intentions before the parade. It makes you wonder about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's commitment to the safety and security of all Israelis.
Yesterday, Yeshi Shlissel, an Orthodox Jewish zealot stabbed six people during a gay pride parade in Jerusalem, critically wounding two of them. But we shouldn't be too surprised. After all, Shlissel did the exact same thing ten years ago in July of 2005, when he stabbed three people at a gay pride parade.
Shlissel was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder. That may sound like a lot of time, but compare it to a Palestinian who was found guilty of attempted murder, using his car to hit policewomen and a cyclist. He got 25 years for attempted murder in July of 2015.
Then there's the case of Aziz Oweissat, a 50-year-old Palestinian who went after an elderly Orthodox Jewish person with an axe, and cut a few gas lines to see if the residents of houses would be blown up. He got 30 years in prison for attempted murder in May of 2015.
Somehow Shlissel was only let out a few weeks ago, in advance of a gay pride parade. One wonders if there was a parole meeting, where he was asked whether he'd do it again.
Well, we don't have to wonder about that, because Shlissel made sure everyone knew about what he would do. He published a letter saying exactly what he would do. But this didn't seem to worry the authorities. Stories say there were a number of police officers on hand, but nobody thought to look for this guy. A cameraman, however, did find him without too much trouble, snapping a photo of him just as he was about to pull the knife.
Shlissel sounds like a no-brainer case for the dedicated leader who wants to combat terrorism. Prime Minister Netanyahu (also known as "Bibi") did label the event a hate crime. "It is up to us to make sure that every man and woman can live in safety at all times in every way that they choose to live," Bibi told the press, as noted on the site Matzav. "This is how we work and this is how we will continue to do things."
But if it was this obvious to see it coming, why wasn't more done to stop such a hate crime? Why was the stabber released early, and allowed to post his plans for others to see?
Maybe there wasn't much of an incentive to stop him. Ultranationalists railed against the gay pride parade, and religious protesters were there to object. A conservative can't afford to offend them, especially in a tight Israeli election. Perhaps the thinking was that if Shlissel was released early and he published a threatening letter, organizers would cancel the event.
It remains to be seen whether this time, Shlissel will get the same sentence for attempted murder as the two Palestinians, or whether he'll be able to get out in ten years or less, and reenact the horror all over again. But there are a lot of questions that Prime Minister Netanyahu should be answering this morning.
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.