An Arab teen who claims he was violently accosted by two ultra-Orthodox men in Jerusalem on Monday says he did nothing to provoke the assailants.
"I still don’t know what led them to attack me, I didn’t do anything, we didn’t even exchange words," the 16-year-old resident of Beit Hanina recalled.
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The teen suffered head wounds and was admitted to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in moderate condition.
The Boy (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"I was returning from Jaffa Street when I saw the two haredi guys on the other side of the road," the teen said. "I was talking with a friend in Arabic and noticed that they crossed over to our side of the street.
"Suddenly I felt a heavy blow from behind me. My friend, who was a few steps ahead of me ran away, and I was left behind. They hit me, I lost consciousness and the next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital."
His mother (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The teen said he was angry with the assailants, whom he estimated to be in their thirties.
"All they did was look for some Arab kid to beat up," he said.
"My friend tried to help me, and as far as I know he pushed one of the attackers away and they eventually fled the scene," the boy recalled.
"I am still coming to terms with what happened," he added, explaining that this is the first time something like this has ever happened to him. Nevertheless, he said he "won't be afraid to pass through that spot in the future."
I grew up with Jews
Sitting at his bedside, his mother burst into tears as she expressed disbelief over the incident.
"When I saw the blood on his face I went crazy," she said. "I couldn’t believe Jews would do such a thing; all my life I grew up with Jews and always had neighborly relations with them. I work with them. I want the police to do their jobs and to find these men so they can stand trial like anyone else. I want equality."
The Jerusalem District Court has yet to arrest any suspects in the attack. Investigators are still gathering evidence and searching for witnesses.
The Abraham Fund Initiatives, which works to promote coexistence and equality between Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens, said in response: "Hate crimes against the Arab citizens of the country has become somewhat routine in Jerusalem, and the government is standing idly by.
"The law enforcement agencies haven't adequately responded to this troubling phenomenon, and today the Arab citizens' most basic right of walking freely in a public space is being infringed upon by racist thugs."
The organization called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to embrace a tough and uncompromising stand on racially-motivated hate crimes against Arabs, as well as developing an inclusive educational plan to root out racism.
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