Two antisemitic incidents near Jaffa Gate

Thursday, September 5, 2019, 9:03 On Monday, September 2, two hassidic youths were assaulted by two Arabs who threw rocks and shouted insults at them on the promenade leading to the Jaffa Gate. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is advising the youths, sent an urgent letter to the police due to the fact that recently there had been another anti-Semitic incident in the same area. Less than two months previously a video clip showing how an Arab youth grabbed the hat off the head of a hassid while his friends cheered was publicized in the social media. Additionally, the letter comes after the assaulted youth was told at the police station that in all likelihood the assailants would not be apprehended. Bleicher sent the letter to the area police commanders: “My client and his friend, who were both wearing hassidic clothing, were walking towards the Western Wall and when they passed the promenade near the Jaffa Gate, they encountered two members of a minority group who started to throw rocks at them as they laughed.” “Some of the rocks hit my client and caused him pain in his shoulder. The assailants stopped only after my client and his friend increased their gait and mingled with a group of people who were walking at the site.” Bleicher said that the injured youth turned to him after the incident and asked for his advice. He recommended that the youth go to the nearest police station and file an official complaint. Bleicher added that according to the assaulted youth’s testimony he was able to recognize the faces of the assailants. However when the youth arrived at the police station and requested a password for the online information system for victims of crime (MENA) so that he could monitor developments in the case, he was told that there was no need to receive a password because in all likelihood the suspects would not be apprehended, and in any event the case would be closed. In his letter to the police commanders Bleicher leveled criticism at the approach taken by the policeman: “First of all, I demand an immediate change in the approach taken by the police and that due attention be given to this most serious incident, which unfortunately is part of a terrible phenomenon reminiscent of the dark days of the exile. Furthermore, it is the basic right of my client to be granted access to the MENA website, without any dependency on the likelihood of the apprehension of the assailants.” Bleicher also stated that the incident bears clear signs of antisemitism. The youth described the assault: “I was walking with a friend on the Jaffa Gate Promenade, in the morning. Two Arabs came up to us and started throwing rocks at us. I was hit in the back of my neck and shoulder. It hurt for a few hours. I called an attorney at Honenu and he advised me to file a complaint with the police, in hopes that they would apprehend the terrorists.” Bleicher mentioned that he is assisting victims of an additional antisemitic incident which occurred in late July. M., aged 18, and a friend were walking on the Jaffa Gate Promenade on their way to pray at the Western Wall. Both youths have a hassidic appearance. They encountered a gang of Arab youth who harassed them. As one of the gang filmed the incident on a cell phone, the assailant approached M., grabbed his hat off of his head and threw it to the ground. Immediately after that, an additional assailant approached threateningly, with his hand thrust in his pocket in a manner which raised suspicions that he was holding a sharp object. Startled, the two friends broke into a run with the gang chasing them. The gang recorded the incident on a cell phone and later posted video clips in the Arabic social media. M. returned home agitated and crying after the incident, and refused to share with his family anything about the assault which he had experienced. Approximately one week later his family became aware of the video clips posted in the social media and understood what had occurred. They urged M. to complain to the police and to seek professional emotional assistance. The doctor who examined M. diagnosed him as suffering from severe symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Since the incident M. has been confining himself to his home and suffers from insomnia. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher is representing M. and closely following the investigation by the Merchav David (Old City) Police. In a letter he sent to the Merchav David Investigations Branch, Bleicher demanded that the assailants be apprehended and brought to trial on charges of racially motivated aggravated assault. Bleicher also demanded that M. be recognized as a victim of terror for the purpose of receiving support from the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi). M.’s father described what happened to his son: “He experienced a terrible trauma. He wouldn’t say anything. We found out from other people that there is a video clip and that everything was recorded. This should not happen again to anyone. Therefore we demand that the police apprehend them and put them behind bars.” Bleicher concluded: “This appears to be a serious phenomenon of criminal antisemitic behavior which must be handled with the utmost severity and eradicated from the source.”

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