The taxi driver, 41-years-old Fadi Abed, told his friends that the two men made sure he was talking Arabic before entering his cab, and that they intentionally asked him to go to a dark area of Jerusalem's Kiryat HaYovel neighborhood, where they attacked him.
The two young men, ages 20 and 23, insisted the confrontation with the drive was over money, and that they were under the influence of alcohol.
Police arrested the two suspects but said the incident happened on Borochov Street in an area that wasn't dark, also confirming the suspects' version that they were intoxicated.
"He picked up two young men from Jerusalem and took them from place to place," said Rani, Abed's friend. "There was no conversation during the drive. Before getting into the taxi, they made sure he was speaking Arabic. They got to one destination and then asked to go to another destination, knowing it was a dark place near Kiryat HaYovel."
Rani, who was sitting at his friend's bedside at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, went on to recount the story he heard from Abed. "When they got to the place, they pulled out two bottles for no reason and without any provocation hit Fadi in the head with them. He suffered serious bruising."
During their police questioning, the two young men said they didn't hit Abed because he was an Arab, but rather in the heat of an argument over money.
According to the police, the two young men did not have cash and asked the driver to let them get money from the ATM so they could pay him. The driver, according to the police, did not believe the two would return and an argument broke out, at the end of which the two attacked Abed.
The police said this version of events was established not only based on the two suspects' testimony, but also on testimony of eye witnesses. The police also added that one of the suspects attacked officers when the two were arrested.
Rani was furious with the police's version of events, saying the two suspects "meant to do this from the beginning. They checked he was an Arab."
(Translated and edited by Yaara Shalom)