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Shefar’am: Uniformed soldier injured in antisemitic assault

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu

Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher; Photo credit: Honenu

Thursday, January 23, 2020, 7:58 Several weeks ago, an IDF soldier approximately 20 years of age, in uniform, arrived in the city of Shefar’am to take care of various bureaucratic issues that he had. He went to the local post office, where an Arab cursed him and insulted IDF soldiers in general. After the soldier left the post office, the Arab followed him, hit his car, and then beat him in the face, breaking his nose. The soldier underwent operations to his face and still suffers from pain associated with the assault. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is assisting the soldier, sent a letter to the police describing the incident and demanding that they promptly apprehend the assailant: The soldier entered the post office, asked someone present to help him file documents, and offered payment for the assistance. The man whom he had asked shouted at the soldier and cursed IDF soldiers in general. The soldier felt threatened, hurriedly left the post office and walked to his car, which was parked in a nearby underground lot. “The assailant chased the soldier and when he reached the car, he pounded on it while cursing IDF soldiers.” Due to the crowdedness of the parking garage, the soldier was forced to stop his car, then the assailant forced him out of his car as two additional Arabs approached the scene “in a threatening manner”. At this stage the assailant grabbed the soldier by the arm and attempted to pull him off to the side. “The assailant pulled up his pants in order to give the impression that he was going to draw a knife, then forcibly leaped at the soldier’s face. The soldier’s nose was broken and he blacked out with his face bleeding. At this point the traffic jam in the parking garage cleared up and the soldier fled in his car.” The soldier was evacuated to the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, where he received medical treatment, including two operations. He still suffers from nightmares, anxiety and pain. His treatments are on-going and are expected to continue for at least six months. The soldier’s mother: “My son tried to calm him [the assailant], but the man simply bunted him in the face, apparently with his head, forcibly, so hard, and he cursed him. He underwent two operations to his nose. It has been a month since then, and he has not yet returned to his base. He has difficulty breathing and there is a problem with his nasal cartilage that can be treated only six months from now. “He is suffering a lot. He is in a sort of state of anxiety. It is fortunate that my son has patience and did not react. If he had not been like that it would have ended differently. I am so angry and upset. We love our country so much, and it is simply a disgrace. Shefar’am is part of the State of Israel. We will not tolerate a situation in which he has to take off his kippa or his uniform before he goes anywhere.” She added that she is afraid to go into Shefaram, and that the family is not aware of any progress that the police have made in the investigation. “Raising a hand to a soldier is a very strong statement. He is not just a citizen or a Jew. Also any insult [to a soldier is more serious than to a civilian]. It was a good thing that he didn’t respond. If he had not gotten into his car [and left] even though he was bleeding, G-d only knows where it would have ended.” Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher’s letter to the Shefar’am Police Department of Investigations concluded: “No effort should be spared in the investigation or in the identification of the assailant. I demand the examination of the recordings from all of the security cameras in the vicinity of the incident, the motor vehicle licensing bureau and the parking garage.” Bleicher also made a public statement: “This was a serious hate crime against an IDF soldier because he is an IDF soldier. There must be decisive action to eradicate this phenomenon of terrorists bearing Israeli citizenship inflicting terror on IDF soldiers in solidarity with the enemy.”

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