Am-Shalem Singson, a 28-year immigrant from the Bnei Menashe community in Manipur, India, was attacked Saturday in Tiberias by unknown assailants who thought he was Chinese and blamed him for the coronavirus outbreak.
The assailants shoved Singson to the ground and kicked him repeatedly while screaming “corona corona.”
Singson was admitted to the city’s Poriya Medical Center with severe chest injuries following the attack.
“I tried to explain to the two attackers I wasn’t Chinese, but a Jew from the Bnei Menashe community,” says Singson who immigrated to Israel in 2017.
“There is no justification to attack someone for being Chinese or anyone else for that matter, but they were in a state of total madness while kicking me.”
Singson, who lives in Tiberias with his mother, grandmother and brother, is a student at a yeshiva program that combines Talmudic studies with military service.
The police said that the was being investigated, adding that “at this stage we are mainly gathering information regarding the assailants.”
“We were shocked to receive the reports of the racist attack against Am-Shalem Singson on Saturday in Tiberias,” said Michael Freund, the founder and chairman of Shavei Israel, an organization dedicated to helping Jewish communities around the world immigrate to Israel.
“The Bnei Menashe are our brothers and sisters," Freund said. "Coronavirus does not differentiate between people based on their skin color, facial structure or eye shape.
“I demand that the Israeli police force investigate this matter with total urgency in order to bring those responsible to justice.”
Israel's Racism Crisis Center, an organization dedicated to help those experiencing discrimination, said: “The aggravated assault on Am-Shalem Singson warrants a through police investigation to properly find and punish the offenders.
"In past plagues it was the Jews who were wrongfully accused of spreading the disease; let us learn a humane lesson from the past.”
More than 4,000 immigrants from the Bnei Menashe community (an ethnolinguistic group in India who claim descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel and have adopted the practice of Judaism) have already made aliyah, with an additional 6,500 more awaiting to receive permission.