Jerusalem stabbing victim was gifted pianist

Jerusalem stabbing victim was gifted pianist


norman lebrecht

August 03, 2015

Shira Banki, who died yesterday from wounds inflicted by an anti-gay Orthodox fanatic, was just 16 years old. A passionate and talented musician, she played this concerto at the Bet Hakerem music school six years ago.

No words can express humanity’s contempt for her murderer.

shira banki


  • Gary Carpenter says:

    So at what point does any religion assume that it’s so ‘right’ that it justifies murder? They should all rot in hell.

  • william osborne says:

    Religion has caused so much death in history. During the Thirty Years War, Württemberg, a state in Germany where I live, lost 75% of its population.

    Last week two fundamentalist settlers in the West Bank fire bombed a Palestinian home. An 18 month old baby was burned alive. Two masked men watched as the entire family burned. A neighbor saw what happened and told a reporter:

    “The hardest thing for me, was that there were two burning people on the ground, and two people were just standing over them. They didn’t even care that the child was still crying inside.”

    There’s a report about the incident in the NY Times here:

    AP reports that it’s part of a new trend among extremist, fundamentalist settlers called “price tagging.” Acts of violence are aimed at the Palestinian population and/or Israeli security forces by Jewish fundamentalist settlers who “exact a price” for any action taken against their settlement enterprise.

    • Alvaro says:

      “FUNDAMENTALIST SETTLERS”, would you define them like that if they spoke a different language, were born just a couple of KM away and were more, how to say it, ‘Tanned’??

      Call it what it is: Two Terrorists.

      • william osborne says:

        I notice that the press in Israel is calling them terrorists. But it is also notable that these acts have been happening for many years and that very few have been arrested.

  • Patrick says:

    Such a tragedy when religion causes an individual to lose any empathy for a fellow human being. What kind of soul can let that happen to them? Something is dead there.

  • Alvaro says:

    I have a word that can define perfectly well her murderer. Terrorist.

  • Dave T says:

    At least the perpetrators of these horrible acts will not be having streets named after them. Their portraits will not be plastered on town walls. Their families will not be honored by well-wishers and they won’t be rewarded with stipends from the state.

  • James says:

    There is nothing new about price tag attacks. They have been going on for some years, though hitherto have been mostly about burning olive trees and the like as I understand it. They were started as a vigilante response to Palestinian terrorism. I make no excuse for it though, these people (on both sides) are all alike – the ones actually carrying out the attacks I mean. And Israel is only now waking up to the fact that they have to crack down on Jewish terrorism, which to their credit they seem to be doing. The government announced new and stringent measures against price tag attackers after this terrible incident, and politicians of every hue swiftly denounced it in the strongest terms. The killer who murdered the poor girl on the Pride march had just got out of prison after 10 years.

    Will there be a silver lining to all of this evil? One hopes so. The other day after both killings there was a gathering of Jews and Arabs outside one of the Arab Israeli towns to jointly stand together. One hopes that everyone will hear this message and take heed.

    • CDH says:

      When they put that killer back in prison they should throw away the key. he will NEVER be safe to let out again, having taken the first opportunity he could — after a ten-year sentence — to offend again. This is fundamentalism: the essential of it in any religion is “nothing you can say or do to me will change my view.” Intransigence.

      As for the Settlers, they are beyond humanity. They have no bloody right there in the first place, and their attitude that “God wants us to have this land” is another signal of fundamentalist rubbish.

      That, and a recent pate of travelling Orthodox types who refuse to sit next to women on planes and demand that women who have paid for and booked their seats have to move makes it high time that Israel took a tougher stance of these fundamentalists who have become terrorists (if they ever were not). want to lose BDS? Clean up on the home front and put your money where your mouth is.

  • Derek Williams says:

    Unfortunately, there is a sizable segment of the population who devoutly believe this girl “got what was coming to her” because of her participation in the gay pride parade where she was stabbed. However, when it comes to the rights of LGBT people, despite the stabbings that happened at this event, Israel is an oasis of equality, a paradise, compared to the iniquities that befall gay people under Islamic regimes, who simply put us to death. Methods of execution include being thrown off the tallest building in the city, hanging, beheading, being sawn in half, and being stoned to death in front of hostile crowds of civilians. LGBT children are executed too. In Iran alone, over 4,000 homosexuals have been put to death by their own government for having been in a same sex relationship since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    The death of this young pianist reminds us that the ongoing war against fundamentalist religious extremism is far from over.

    • william osborne says:

      Perhaps the supporters of Israel, of which I emphatically one, need to stop rationalizing Israel’s own problems by pointing to various injustices in some Islamic countries. Israel is measured by the standards of the first world, a place where it belongs, not by the standards of Third World countries still developing modern standards of justice and social order. There is an inherent irony, and a kind of moral dishonesty, in rationalizing one’s transgressions by pointing to the greater transgressions of others. Israel only makes itself vulnerable when members of its society commit acts of terror – and especially when they do so with impunity.

      • James says:

        Sorry but it is not true to say that a sizeable part of the Israeli population believed that the poor girl got what was coming to her. It is as wrong and dangerous to go overstate as to understate. There are a lot of orthodox Jews who don’t agree with homosexuality but almost none of them would ever advocate violence – most of them just ignore its existence in a live-and-let-live way. Tel Aviv has for years been one of the gay capitals of the world, and proudly so, and Jerusalem has been growing in this area. About settlers I have more sweeping views – though nowhere near as sweeping as one or two stated above (as with most communities, some are just there because of circumstance or affordability, and many are there out of belief but not advocating violence in any way). But on the homophobia issue, this madman was precisely that, and will be shunned by almost all orthodox Jews and Israeli society in general (to put it mildly). I agree though, throw away the key!

        • V.Lind says:

          The Settlements may be affordable — they just should not be there in the first place to be afforded. And there is a sort of righteous indignation on the part of settlers, as mentioned above, when anyone challenges that right. It is preposterous that one Israeli government after another has declined to tackle the expansion of the Settlements, even in the face of pointed and sensible criticism from some of their most powerful and supportive allies.

          I am impressed by the argument above that Israel ought to behave like a first-world country and observe — and be held to — such standards of behaviour and policy.

        • Derek Williams says:

          Perhaps I should have been clearer when I said “there is a sizable segment of the population who devoutly believe this girl ‘got what was coming to her'”, that I was referring to the world population, not specifically to the population of Israel, for the vast majority of whom I agree this is not true. My follow up comment about Israel being “an oasis of equality, a paradise, compared to the iniquities that befall gay people under Islamic regimes” and thus the only safe place in the Middle East for LGBT minorities should have made that apparent.

          In 76 countries, same sex relationships are treated as a crime with punishments ranging from up to 14 years imprisonment, to life for a ‘repeat offence’, and in 10 of those countries, the death penalty applies and is regularly enforced. It is people in those places who I think would feel that Shira Banki was appropriately treated, since that is what happens already in those places to LGBT people and our supporters.

          I completely agree with all your other points.

  • NYMike says:

    Give all these cretins haircuts, shaves and make them serve in the IDF!

  • Michael says:

    I am a haredi jew who once lived in the same town as this fellow.

    Don’t know the guy, but the hebrew press says he is a paranoid schizophrenic with a history of psychotic behavior, including when he was in prison.

    Had any Rabbi who knew him been consulted, they would have advised that he be locked up way BEFORE he act out like this once again.

    Yes, I know there was nasty rhetoric around, but the haredi community is no more responsible for his actions than any other community (you name it) is for the actions of its own paranoid schizophrenics.