4 adults, 2 minors arrested in south over May rioting

Arab men attacked by Jewish gang in Bat Yam in apparent nationalist assault

Victims, one in wheelchair, were sitting with Jewish friends; group asked if they were Arab and then returned with weapons; 3 hospitalized, including one with head wound

Illustrative. Israel Police in Bat Yam. on February 27, 2017. (Moti Karelitz/ Flash90/ File)
Illustrative. Israel Police in Bat Yam. on February 27, 2017. (Moti Karelitz/ Flash90/ File)

Two young men who were sitting with Jewish friends in the coastal city of Bat Yam were attacked on Saturday night by Jewish youths in what police reportedly believe was a nationalist attack.

According to a Sunday report on Channel 13 news, three members of the group were hospitalized at Holon’s Wolfson Medical Center — the two Arab men, one of whom was using a wheelchair, and one of the young Jewish women who was with them. They were released on Sunday evening.

The group was sitting in a park when they were approached by a group of Jewish youths who asked if the men were Arab, before leaving.

Around 20 minutes later, the group returned armed with knives and firecrackers. Police are also examining whether they had a gun.

The group attacked the young men, injuring them. One of the young Jewish women was also hurt, but the report said she apparently wasn’t attacked and it was unclear how she had sustained her injuries.

“I was sitting with my friend, who was in a wheelchair, when three Jews passed by and asked us what was going on, and we told them that everything was fine,” one of the victims told the outlet. “Then they came back with the same clothes but were wearing masks. They had knives and all sorts of weapons. They tried to stab us as much as they could, they stabbed me in the head.”

The Israel Police did not initially issue a statement to the media about the incident, but confirmed to Channel 13 that the attack had been reported and that the motive was apparently nationalistic. The police later issued a notification that an investigation into the incident had been opened.

Ahmed Mashharawi, a former member of the city council of nearby Tel Aviv-Jaffa, gave a statement on behalf of the victims, saying that racism was growing in Bat Yam, symbolized by the brutal attack by a mob on an Arab man during May’s conflict between Israel and Gaza terror groups.

“More and more Arabs have recently been reluctant to come to Bat Yam, including the mall, which once had Arab customers. The municipality and the police must do everything in their power to eradicate the racism that is spreading in the city after the terrible attack during Operation Guardian of the Walls,” he said.

Saeed Mousa was seriously injured in the May attack, which was caught on live television and shocked the nation amid spiraling ethnic tensions between Jews and Arabs in Israeli cities, fanned by the armed conflict between Israel and Gaza terror groups.

Screen capture from video of a crowd of Jewish protestors pulling an Arab man from his vehicle in Bet Yam, May 21, 2021. (Twitter)

Mousa was on his way to the beach in Bat Yam when he was set upon by a group that had gathered to attack Arabs and Arab-owned businesses in the Tel Aviv-area city, according to an indictment filed in the case.

According to prosecutors, Mousa attempted to reverse away from the mob, but hit a car behind him. He then accelerated forward, with people jumping out of the way, before crashing into another car.

He was then dragged out of the car by the mob and beaten badly.

Separately, police said Monday that four adults and two minors had been arrested in the south of the country for alleged acts of violence in May during the conflict between Israel and Gaza terror groups. The area saw multiple attacks on Jewish motorists by local Bedouin Arabs. 

In a statement, police said the six were suspected of involvement in a number of violent incidents and rioting close to the town of Laqiya, including three attempted attacks on people, as well as stone throwing and tire burning.

The suspects were taken for questioning and were set to appear in court later on Monday for a hearing on their detention.

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