Hassan Usruf, an Arab-Israeli man in his 40s who works as a street cleaner for the Tel Aviv Municipality, claimed he was attacked early Sunday morning on the city's seaside promenade by a group of more than 20 Jewish youngsters.
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The man, who was admitted to the Sourasky Medical Center with injuries to his head, eye socket and jaw, has filed a complaint with Tel Aviv District Police. Investigators are looking into the possibility that the assault was nationalistically-motivated. Police have yet to arrest any suspects, and no eyewitnesses have been found either. Usruf is expected to undergo surgery to his jaw on Monday.
"I was beaten because I'm an Arab," he told Ynet Thursday evening. "At around 4 am we began working near the Opera House and made our way toward the Dolphinarium. Suddenly a large group (of Jews) approached. 'You're and Arab,' they yelled. 'You want a state? Is that what you want?' I told them 'relax,' and then they grabbed me and began to hit me. One of them hit me in the head with a bottle. I fell to the ground, and they took turns kicking and hitting me. I shouted, 'We are all brothers. For me there are no Jews or Arabs.'"
According to Usruf, it was at this point that he felt his life was in danger. "I told myself I would never make it home. They were drunk and beat me because I'm Arab. They were racists," he recounted. "I tried to run away, but I couldn't. I was on the ground, alone against 20 people. God loves me so I survived. I've been working with Jews for years and they are like brothers to me, but these people were drunken racists."
Usruf's nephew told Ynet: "This is very difficult for me emotionally. I grew up with Jews, and when something like this happens it hurts. And it happened in Tel Aviv, which is supposed to be a symbol of coexistence. This shows that such incidents can happen anywhere."
Initial information was received via Red Email