The man, Muhammad Mansour, was hospitalized at the Poria State Hospital in Tiberias in light condition. Police suspect that the youths, aged 14 to 16, assaulted the man after realizing he is Arab.
An initial investigation revealed that the young man ran into the group of teenagers while heading home after spending time at the Tiberias promenade.
"The teenagers surrounded him and asked, 'Where are you from?' When he said he was from Majdal Krum, they beat him mercilessly," said Tiberias Police Commander Effie Partuk.
The police began searching for the youths after Mansour was evacuated to the hospital. Three of them were arrested in the promenade area, one near a cemetery and several others on a bus.
One of the teens managed to escape when the bus' back door opened, but the police set up roadblocks across the city and managed to capture him.
Mansour is suffering from bruises on all parts of his body. "This is a severe incident," said Partuk, adding that the police would ask the Tiberias Magistrate's Court to extend the youths' remand.
'I saw death pass before my eyes'
From his hospital bed, Muhammad Mansour recounted the event. "I saw death pass before my eyes. I thought this would be my end," he told Ynet.
"I work at the FOX (clothing) chain. I came to Tiberias for several days to reinforce the store and I'm staying at a hotel," he said. "Yesterday, just before 10 pm, I asked to go outside and take a breath of fresh air."
Mansour with his mother at hospital (Photo: Gil Eliyahu)
He said he was sitting by the water when a large group of youths approached him. "They asked, 'Are you from Tiberias?' I said no. They asked, 'Are you from Eilaboun (Arab village)?' I said no. Then one of then insisted, 'You're from Eilaboun, you're from Eilaboun!' and hit me in the head from the back.
"I tried to escape, but I fell on the floor and they surrounded me for more than 10 minutes, hitting me in the legs with clubs. Apart from shouting 'stop it', I couldn’t do a thing. I felt their racism when they beat me. I thought my life was over."
At a certain stage, Mansour said, the youths decided to leave him alone after taking his cell phone and NIS 350 (about $88.5).
"I tried to get up, and then one of them ran back towards me and said, 'If you return to Tiberias you'll die, and if you tell the police you'll die.'"
Muhammad's mother, Wafa, pointed a finger at the children's parents: "It's all the result of education, the result of their education to hate people for no reason. I am a teacher in my profession, and I try as much as I can to educate both my students and my children that we are two people which must live together.
"It's clear to me that my son was attacked simply because he is an Arab. This should turn on a red light to the police, the parents and the education system. Everyone must do something to stop this wave of violence."
Chief Inspector Amir Golan, an investigations officer at the Tiberias station, told Ynet, "It appears that this was a group of youths who conspired to intentionally attack an Arab victim. There are additional people involved who have yet to be arrested."
The Tiberias Municipality condemned the incident in a statement: "We strongly denounce any incident of violence and welcome any guest who wishes to visit our city, regardless of his or her religion, race and sex."
On Sunday night, nine young men, most of them under the age of 18, were arrested on suspicion of torching property belonging to Arab residents of the northern city of Nazareth Illit. Northern District Police officials view this phenomenon with great concern.