US Consulate in Jerusalem issues warning over gay pride march

Marcy Oster

Thousands of Israelis celebrating gay pride in Jerusalem, Israel. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

Thousands of Israelis celebrating gay pride in Jerusalem, Israel, in 2009. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The American Consulate in Jerusalem issued a warning to United States citizens to “exercise caution” at the city’s gay pride parade.

The warning about the Jerusalem Pride Parade comes as the city and police announced increased security measures for the march, scheduled for Thursday.

At last year’s parade, a haredi Orthodox man stabbed to death marcher Shira Banki, 16, and injured five others. This year’s parade is being held in Banki’s memory, and her parents in a public post on Facebook called on the public to join the march to support “tolerance and equality for all” and to stand “in resistance to violence as a way of solving any dispute or argument.” Their daughter was marching in support of her LGBTQ friends.

“The Consulate advises U.S. citizens participating in the march to exercise caution and to be aware that gatherings of large crowds can be a target for criminals, terrorists, and individuals motivated by nationalistic and political beliefs,” read the statement issued on Tuesday.

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Marchers will only be permitted to join the march, both at the starting point at Liberty Park and at entrance points along the way, after undergoing a security check. No weapons will be permitted on the route, even to those with gun licenses.