Three Jewish Israelis — two off-duty IDF soldiers and a teenage girl –were assaulted on Friday evening in northern Israel by a group of teens who thought they were Arabs, Israel Radio reported.
The assailants struck the trio repeatedly with a hookah pipe while they were sitting in a public park in Pardes Hannah, according to the report.
The suspects reportedly knew the third victim, a 17-year-old girl, and launched the assault after seeing her talking to the two soldiers. They reportedly shouted “you’re Arabs!” while beating the three victims, the report said.
The victims’ condition was not immediately clear, but pictures showed one of them with a bruised and bleeding face.
There have been several incidents of Jews attacking Arab men for socializing with Jewish women.
As the trio received treatment for their injuries at a local hospital, the father of one of the soldiers expressed his frustration to police. “Soldiers go on vacation and are attacked by criminals just because they look like Arabs. This is shameful.”
“They tried to lynch them. It could have ended in death,” he added.
The father also told police that there were witnesses in the park who watched the assault unfold but did not call police. “And even if they were Arabs, does that justifies their being harmed?”
פירסום ראשון – שני לוחמים מכפיר וגולני ואזרח שיצאו לבלות בפרדס חנה הותקפו קשות עי צעירים מקומיים שחשבו שהם ערבים . pic.twitter.com/UocCAd2uXJ
— כרמלה מנשה (@ela1949) August 20, 2017
Police said they have opened an investigation into the incident and that they are working to bring the perpetrators to justice.
This was not the first such case in which an Israeli carried out an attack against a civilian under the assumption that he was an Arab.
In February, Shlomo Pinto was sentenced to 11 years in prison for stabbing another Jewish man he mistook for an Arab in October 2015, in a bungled revenge attack.