A woman from the African Hebrew Israelites group in Dimona reacted Tuesday to a video in which she was seen being showered with racial slurs while riding the bus.
“This kind of racism I have never experienced,” Hasedia Bat Israel told Channel 2 news. “I was born in this land. This kind of racism I have never experienced. It was very crude and hurtful.”
In the video, which has been shared widely since the incident two weeks ago, a woman can be heard insulting Bat Israel, including saying she smells bad and repeatedly calling her a “kushit,”a pejorative Hebrew term for a black woman.
Asked how she restrained herself despite the string of insults being slung at her, Bat Israel said she simply chose to ignore the woman.
“I don’t believe in fighting to get no point across,” she said. “I tuned her out.”
Bat Israel said she learned about the Facebook video from her children, who she said took it especially hard.
“She posted it on Facebook and it caused a lot of shame and embarrassment, especially to my children,” she said. “I heard about it through my children as I was coming home that evening. It was heartbreaking.
“It was crushing. My children’s spirit was torn,” she added.
Reacting to the failure of all but one passenger to try and intervene, Bat Israel told the Ynet news site it was likely the other riders on the bus “also think that way.”
In a filmed response, Inbal Ben Baruch, who launched the tirade against Bat Israel, denied she was racist.
“I didn’t intend to insult the woman,” she said in a video posted on Twitter. “I’m a girl that likes hygiene and pleasant smells.”
Ben Baruch said she apologized to Bat Israel over the incident, although Bat Israel told Channel 2 news she had yet to receive an apology and did not know Ben Baruch.