Police on Saturday arrested five Jewish youths from the coastal city of Netanya, suspected of involvement in assailing and attacking Arabs in the city on Thursday, Ynet reported.
Officials believe the five, along with dozens of others who have not yet been arrested, met up Thursday evening with the express intent of attacking Arabs, after making arrangements to do so on social media.
They then accosted three Arab men in the street, chanting “Death to Arabs.” Two managed to escape the mob, but the third, Abed Jamal, was caught and severely beaten with chairs and sticks before police arrived and extracted him.
“We wanted to walk around and buy clothes,” he recounted to Ynet afterwards. “I don’t know where they came from, they jumped on us, cried ‘Death to Arabs’…they caught me and beat me.” Jamal vowed never to return to the city, whose residents he called “racists.”
Despite having been the victim of the attack, Jamal also said he was the only one detained and questioned by police at the time, and said officers’ treatment of him was rough. He later received medical care in the city’s Laniado Hospital.
Beyond the five arrested, 10 others have been briefly detained for questioning. The suspects will be brought before a judge on Saturday evening for an extension of their remand.
Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg expressed her disgust with the attack, and said she would invite the victims for a meeting.