Tour guide beaten, called ‘dirty Jew’ during school trip
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Tour guide beaten, called ‘dirty Jew’ during school trip

Umm al-Fahm students attack yeshiva educator; Education Ministry promises to investigate

Lazar Berman is a former breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of Israeli students on trip to Poland in 2011 (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of Israeli students on trip to Poland in 2011 (photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

A tour guide leading a group of yeshiva students on a school trip was violently beaten by dozens of youths from the Arab city Umm al-Fahm, the news site NRG reported Sunday.

Guide Avraham Snir was leading eight 11th-graders from the Mateh Binyamin yeshiva high school in the Beit El settlement on a trip to the Banias reserve in northern Israel last Wednesday when the group passed three Umm al-Fahm students. According to Snir, the teens started cursing at the yeshiva students, so the guide asked them to continue on their way while he continued on his.

“We are a thousand and one, and you are nothing, just you wait,” the Umm al-Fahm students said, according to the guide.

Snir kept his group moving, but as he rounded a corner minutes later, he saw a group of 40-50 students waiting for him. “They began saying in Arabic, ‘Where is he? Where is he?'” Snir recalled.

“I saw the three I argued with below and they said to me, ‘Are you a man? Let’s see what you’re worth now.'”

The Umm al-Fahm students surrounded Snir and started kicking and punching him, saying, “We will kill you, you dog,” and “Dirty Jew.”

“I saw murder in their eyes,” Snir said.

Snir was beaten for four minutes, while his students stood by helpless, he said. One student who tried to help him was shoved into a wall.

View of Israel's largest Arab city Umm al-Fahm (Photo credit:  Matanya Tausig/Flash90)
View of Israel’s largest Arab city Umm al-Fahm (Photo credit: Matanya Tausig/Flash90)

The guide for the Umm al-Fahm students tried to stop the attack, jumping in front of Snir. “I must say to his credit that he tried to defend me with his own body, and even took a bunch of blows himself.”

It took the involvement of park rangers to break up the assault.

Police were summoned to the scene, but did not carry out any arrests, nor did they ask Snir to identify his assailants. “I felt the police did not make an effort to deal with the case, and even tried to cover it up,” he claimed.

Still, Snir said, he is telling his students to trust the police, and that they will do everything they can to find the perpetrators.

Snir was taken to Safed’s Ziv Hospital for treatment, and, defying doctors’ orders, returned to his students the next day to finish the trip with them. “He was deeply concerned for their well-being, and it was important for him to show them that he was not defeated,” said Yinon Tawito, a principal at the school.

“It is obvious to me that some will need psychological treatment” after witnessing the attack, said Snir.

Yoni Kenler, the yeshiva’s social education director, challenged the Education Ministry in a letter he sent to students. “We call on the Education Ministry to carry out a thorough investigation into what is happening at the New High School in Umm al-Fahm, and to determine whether those youths acted from within a general atmosphere of incitement toward the state and its institutions. We must not accept in any way incitement against the state and its Jewish citizens from within schools that are funded, and are supposed to be supervised, by the state.”

“We will continue to extend our hand to those Israeli Arabs who want to live alongside us, to work and make a living, while respecting the state, its laws, and its institutions. One of the other hand, we must show zero tolerance toward those who take advantage of the tools and resources the state gives them in order to harm us in every way possible.”

The Education Ministry said it views the incident seriously, and will show no tolerance toward racism and violence. It also said it was interviewing all relevant parties and will act according to the findings.

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