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Anti-Semitic attacks over mezuzah (illustration)
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Antwerp, Belgium (archives)
Photo: Index Open
Ex-Israeli suffers anti-Semitic abuse in Belgium
After affixing small mezuzah on door of their Antwerp apartment, former Israeli tennis player and her partner are insulted and harassed by their neighbors for three weeks before being physically attacked inside home. Police refuse to accept complaint
VIDEO – A former Israeli tennis player and her wife have been the victims of an anti-Semitic attack in their own home in a suburb of Antwerp, Belgium. Police have refused to accept a complaint against those who made the attack.

 

Video courtesy of jn1.tv

 

Ruth Sverdloff, a former Israeli tennis champion, and her wife, Cindey Meul, moved into an apartment in Aartselaar, near Antwerp, in the middle of May.

 

In accordance with the Jewish tradition, they affixed a small mezuzah on the door of their apartment. They then suffered three weeks of anti-Semitic insults and harassment from their neighbors, culminating in Cindey Meul being attacked in the apartment, beaten and left unconscious with a broken nose.

 

"They were banging on the door; it was like in a movie," Sverdloff recalls. "I was really scared every minute that the door would break.'Go out, open the door quickly, dirty Jew,' they said in Flemish, and then explained to me, 'Jewish are not going to live here.'

 

"You could hear that it was more than one person. It was two people and then after that it was four people. You could hear the women’s voice, the man’s voice. We were sleeping. We were shocked totally. We weren’t even expecting it."

 

Meul adds, "I opened the door and he, Kevin, threatened me, saying: 'What the Germans didn’t finish we will do.' He said he was going to punch my face… I didn’t expect it to come of course. She grabbed me here, and gave me one punch, on the nose, and I was totally knocked out."

 

"When I came back I saw a lot of police cars," Sverdloff continues. "I saw two ambulances, a lot of people on the street. I ran quickly upstairs, and immediately they stopped me, 'Who are you?' 'I’m her wife!' So they let me come in.

 

"I was totally shocked. I saw a lot of blood, on the floor, in the apartment. I saw my wife, full of blood on her face, holding her stomach, almost can’t walk. I asked her 'Who did it to you?' I immediately asked her 'Who did it to you?' and she told me the woman and Kevin."

 

Threatened with arrest

When the couple tried to complain to the local police, they were themselves threatened with arrest, with the police refusing to accept any complaint against the attackers.

 

The couple has now engaged leading Belgian lawyer Michael Modrikamen to pursue their complaints against the attackers and against the police of Aartselaar.

 

"You have a person being beaten in their apartment, there are injuries, losing blood, and it took almost three weeks before the police finally agreed to take a statement from one of these ladies," Modrikamen says. "And also after some intervention, some pressure from some people in the Jewish community in contact with the police. So I don’t find the attitude of the police normal. Not at all."

 

What action do you propose to take?

 

"Well first of all, we will file a formal complain against the perpetrators of this aggression and this harassment of an anti-Semitic nature. This is the first thing, because the guilty person has to be prosecuted, to be punished for that.

 

"But we will also file a complaint with an institution that investigates the behavior of the police, with very large investigative powers. They can search, they can interrogate, and I will also file a formal complaint there asking a reaction and a sanction against the policeman involved."

 

 

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