A 79-year-old Holocaust survivor was attacked on Friday after he asked a man's children to stop destroying benches in central Holon. "He sat me down on a bench, placed his hand on my neck and began hitting me. I tried to break free, but I was too weak, I could not fight back. My nose was swollen and bloody," Pavel Gertman recalled.
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Ayalon Sub-District Police detained the suspect, who is in his 40s, for questioning on Friday. The elderly was evacuated by Magen David Adom paramedics to the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon for initial treatment. He was released to his home Friday night. "He was evacuated him to the hospital in light condition," one of the paramedics said.
'Horrible feeling.' Gertman after being released from hospital (Photo: Nili Lerner)
The father, who was released to his home under restricting conditions, claimed during his interrogation that he did not punch or choke the elderly man and that the two shoved each other. He is still suspected of assault.
The victim said, "I was in Holon's center when I noticed a number of children with a shopping cart dismantling the benches elderly people sit on every day. I approached them and asked, 'What are you doing?' I began to take out the boards they loaded onto the cart and they ran away. A few minutes later a man of about 40 showed up and began yelling at me and shoving me. He sat me down on the bench, put his hand on my neck and started hitting me.
Pyvel Gertman. 'Stay home, don't get involved' (Photo: Hagai Dekel)
"He punched me. My nose swelled up. He asked me why I laid a hand on his children, but I didn’t lay a hand on them. He took the cart and told the kids to reload it with the boards from the benches," Gertman said, adding that he had apparently passed out during the incident.
"Good people saw me and alerted my wife. I was evacuated by an ambulance," the man said.
Park where Gertman was assaulted (Photo: Ofer Amram)
The elderly man said the attack took him back to the days of the Holocaust. "I care about the country, and what happened made me feel terrible. I felt as though I returned to the days when I hid from the Germans. I was stunned. But I want to say thank you to the good people who helped me."
He further noted, "I have one conclusion – stay home, don't get involved in such things. If you witness a crime, go away. "
Pyvel's son, Eyal, said, "I'm still in shock. I am involved in aid to Holocaust survivors, and, in general, they are treated disgracefully in our country. I want the attacker to be punished. What is this? A 79-year-old man gets beaten up on the street? This is unheard of."
The Holon Municipality said in response, "We view such incidents with great severity, particularly when elderly people are involved, and we wish the gentleman a quick recovery. The City of Holon is working to advance the neighborhood in question, as it does for the other neighborhoods."
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