Eight Israelis arrested for attacking Arab hotel workers in Jerusalem

Five suspects held in custody after court hearing; police say they punched, threatened and tried to stab the hotel employees

Hotel guests clash with employees at the Herbert Samuel hotel in downtown Jerusalem on July 31, 2021. (Screenshot)
Hotel guests clash with employees at the Herbert Samuel hotel in downtown Jerusalem on July 31, 2021. (Screenshot)

Eight Jewish Israelis were arrested on Saturday after attacking Arab employees of a hotel in Jerusalem.

According to the Israel Police, officers were called to the Herbert Samuel Hotel in the capital’s downtown after a fight broke out between hotel guests and employees. Several hotel employees required medical treatment and damage was done to the hotel lobby, said police.

Police later arrested eight suspects, all residents of Rishon Lezion, and took them in for questioning. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

At a hearing Sunday morning in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, police told the judge that the suspects — who were celebrating ahead of a wedding — threw chairs, punched both the employees and police officers and attempted to stab one of the workers with a knife.

“This was outrageous behavior, coupled with severe violence,” a police officer told the court, requesting that the suspects remain in custody for an additional five days.

But the judge ruled Sunday that five of the suspects would be kept in custody for just two more days, and released the remaining three to house arrest.

Video of the event circulating on social media shows hotel guests throwing chairs, plants and other hotel property at the employees, who attempt to defend themselves.

A police representative told the court that the incident began when one of the guests accused a hotel employee of speaking disrespectfully to his mother. The guest threatened the employee, then punched another, and the situation escalated, said police.

One of the guests involved told the Ynet news site that “the Arab employees of the hotel woke us up and harassed us all weekend.” He claimed that one hotel employee then “cursed at” a female guest, “which is what caused the commotion.”

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