צלבי קרס על קברים בבית עלמין יהודי בצרפת
Swastikas sprayed onto Jewish graves
Ilan Kirzon

Rabbi claims was assaulted in Germany for speaking Hebrew

Rabbi Ilan Kirzon says he spoke in Hebrew on the phone when a man wearing Muslim dress confronted him, cursing and pushing him forcefully; local police say case is under investigation

Itamar Eichner, Attila Somflavi |
Published: 09.15.22, 23:40
A rabbi in the Jewish community of near Berlin said he was attacked by a Muslim man on Tuesday after he spoke Hebrew on the phone.
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  • Ilan Kirzon from the city of Potsdam said he was headed to a doctor's appointment with his 13-year-old son, Levi, when he was assaulted.
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    הרב אריאל קירזון
    הרב אריאל קירזון
    Ilan Kirzon
    “We stepped off the train,” he told Ynet, “we were late and needed to hurry, but I had to make an urgent phone call to the Israeli embassy. I spoke in Hebrew and was easily identified as Jewish based on my clothes."
    A man, who appeared to be a Muslim, then approached him, cursing the rabbi and using what appeared to be anti-Jewish comments. The man then pushed the rabbi forcefully, Kirzon said.
    “He lifted his hands and grabbed me. I heard him say ‘Juden’, he yelled ‘filthy Jew’ and more. I wanted to film him but my son stopped me, afraid of further violence.”
    Kirzon filed a report with local police. “There are cameras in the area, and I hope the man will be found. My son is scared now, which makes me very sad,” he said, adding that this was not the first antisemitic assault he experienced in Germany.
    “Three years ago, I was walking in Berlin at night, on my way back from the synagogue, when three Russian-speaking immigrants, who appeared to be drunk, cursed me," he said. "I pretended not to understand and kept walking. I sometimes hear ‘free Palestine’ shouts when going through Poznań,” he said.
    2 View gallery
    צלבי קרס על קברים בבית עלמין יהודי בצרפת
    צלבי קרס על קברים בבית עלמין יהודי בצרפת
    Swastikas sprayed onto Jewish graves
    Local media reported the incident and said the police was investigating and reviewing security camera footage.
    The Berlin-based Center for the Research of Antisemitism recorded 1,052 antisemitic incidents in 2021, 1,019 incidents in 2020 and 886 in 2019.
    “My wife is worried because I live in Berlin and work in Poznań, and my synagogue has no security,” Kirzon said.
    “It’s very difficult. It feels like anyone can come up to you, assault you, and get away with it. The incident happened two days ago, and a video of it is yet to be found. They are not looking for the man," he said.
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