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Israeli student says she was victim of anti-Semitic attack on NY subway

Lihi Aharon, who was scratched in the face by woman ranting against Jews, urges people to ‘not be afraid to fight’ against hate; female suspect charged with assault over incident

A woman, identified by the New York Police Department as Zarinah Ali, rants against Jews at a subway station in New York on December 12, 2019. (Screen capture: YouTube)
A woman, identified by the New York Police Department as Zarinah Ali, rants against Jews at a subway station in New York on December 12, 2019. (Screen capture: YouTube)

An Israeli student said she was recently attacked on the New York City subway by a woman hurling anti-Semitic at a Jewish passenger.

In a video released Monday, Lihi Aharon recalled boarding the subway in Manhattan and encountering a woman whose possessions were on the nearby seats, which she asked her to move.

“No. Nobody sits here,” she quoted the woman, who was identified by the New York Police Department as Zarinah Ali, as saying.

Aharon said she then sat down across from Ali next to a Jewish man, who had a beard and was wearing a kippa.

“As soon as I sat that woman started cursing and yelling at him about him being a Jew and ‘Allahu akbar’ and how Allah will end us all,” she recounted.

She then took out at her phone and began recording Ali, footage of which was included in the video.

“You can record everything you want to sell. Allahu akbar. But you know what they’re going to do? It’s gonna be deleted,” the woman said.

Ali then began yelling and cursing at her, according to Aharon, before knocking the phone from her hand. Aharon said she then asked a friend to start recording, but Ali also slapped her friend’s phone away.

“All of a sudden she grabbed my face. It happened very, very fast so I decided, it’s not happening today and I had to fight back,” she said. “Eventually, that lady found herself outside on the subway station on the floor with all her belongings.”

In the subway station, Aharon said she quickly contacted police and was told by passersby she was bleeding.

The video then cuts to footage of Ali sitting on the stairs and cursing as a police officer stands in front of her.

“You fucking stinkin’ ass Jew,” the woman says. “You ain’t even a Jew, you white.”

Aharon also said the Jewish man she sat next to on the train told her the woman also praised the deadly shooting last week at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City and that it was a shame it was not all Jews who were killed.

“He said that nobody did nothing,” Aharon said. “Please, talk, do not be afraid to step up and shut people up because there is no place, not in New York or in any other place on earth, for hatred.”

She then pointed to a scar on her face apparently from the attack, saying she wore it “proudly.”

“Do not be afraid to fight and return the fight,” Aharon said.

A NYPD spokesperson said in a statement that Ali, a 38-year-old from South Orange, New Jersey, was arrested over the December 12 incident and charged with assault for scratching Aharon’s face.

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