Police on Saturday night detained the wife of a rabbi who has actively campaigned against Jerusalem’s gay pride parade, on suspicion that she had knowledge of Yishai Schlissel’s intent to carry out Thursday’s stabbing attack during the march, which injured six people.
Police were reportedly looking into the relationship between Schlissel and the Jerusalem couple, and their contacts over the recent period.
According to Ynet news, the woman was briefly detained on Thursday evening. When police arrived at her door on Saturday night to take her in for further questioning, she collapsed and was evacuated to receive medical treatment.
Walla news spoke to the unnamed rabbi, who accused police of manhandling his wife and breaking her hand in the process.
He denied any significant contact with Schlissel, calling such accusations “an outright lie. I’ve never met him.”
He said Schlissel had called him once while still in prison — for a nearly identical crime to Thursday’s attack committed 10 years ago — to ask him for assistance in disseminating religious material. “I hadn’t done anything with it, and I hadn’t heard from him since.”
The pair’s attorney, far-right activist Itamar Ben Gvir, accused police of “acting out of panic and hysteria to cover for the Schlissel debacle. … I don’t understand why they’re arresting those who oppose the gay pride parade. Is it forbidden to oppose such a parade?”
On Friday Schlissel was found fit to stand trial. Police submitted a psychological evaluation to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, which extended the assailant’s remand by 12 days.
Schlissel, who previously served a 10-year term for a 2005 stabbing attack on the Jerusalem gay pride parade, refused legal counsel. An ultra-Orthodox Jew, he said he did not recognize the legal standing of the court since it did not abide by Jewish law.
“The court does not work in accordance with the holy Torah, and is part of the mechanism of evil,” he said.
Two of the six stabbing victims — a teenage girl and 26-year-old man — remained in serious condition on Friday.
Israeli police have come under fire after it emerged that Schlissel had made a series of statements following his release from prison three weeks ago, indicating that he was planning another attack on the gay pride rally.
A policeman told reporters that while police were aware that Schlissel had been released, they did not have any concrete information that he was planning another attack.
Tamar Pileggi contributed to this report.
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