Jewish youths filmed intimidating Arab taxi drivers
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Jewish youths filmed intimidating Arab taxi drivers

Verbal and physical assaults against cabbies in Jerusalem aim to ruin their livelihood

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of taxis in Jerusalem. (Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of taxis in Jerusalem. (Photo by Moshe Shai/Flash90)

An Arab taxi driver was beaten by Jewish assailants amid a campaign of anti-Arab intimidation in the center of Jerusalem, Channel 2 reported on Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, driver Ziad Quasmah was waiting for fares at a popular gathering spot in downtown Jerusalem when two youths got into his cab. At first they pretended to be interested in a short ride, but the two assailants then grabbed Quasmah from behind and punched him in face, breaking his nose.

Quasmah required hospital treatment for his injuries.

The attack was just one of a series of run-ins between Arab taxi drivers and right-wing gangs that patrol the pick-up points intimidating drivers, with verbal and sometimes physical assaults.

Passengers too, are targeted, the report said. When the gangs, numbering dozens of young Israelis, mostly teens, see customers getting into the Arab cabs, they accost the passengers, surrounding the vehicle and badgering them until they get out.

Channel 2 filmed several of the teens declaring that their goal is to prevent the Arab cabbies from making a living and push them out of the center of town. Cameras also caught youths throwing rocks at passing Arab taxis.

Although police are present in the areas for some of the time, during which the agitators stay out of sight, as soon as the cops leave the youths return, one driver said.

The violence against the drivers has picked up during the past two months, following the start of the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip during which Palestinian terrorists rained rocket down on Israeli towns and cities. Operation Protective Edge, the IDF’s response to the rocket attacks, also provoked riots in East Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods.

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