Alcohol and hate during Purim fuel attacks on Palestinians

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Palestinian woman attacked by a group of Jewish religious students Feb.25, 2013          (Photo:Dorit Jordan Dotan)

The Israeli press reported two separate disturbing incidents in which a large group of Jewish youths attacked defenseless Palestinians.   Both incidents may have been fueled by alcohol and connected to Purim holiday celebrations.

A street cleaner named, Hassan Usraf, told police he was brutally beaten by about 20 young Jewish men while working early Sunday morning in Tel Aviv.  The victim suffered multiple facial cuts, skull fractures and an eye injury as a result of the attack.  He is in a hospital in serious condition awaiting eye surgery.  Usraf’s wife reported that the youths told her husband that the reason for the assault was that, “He was an Arab.”  No suspects have been apprehended.  Usraf described his assailants as drunk.  The police surmised that the youths had been participating in Purim celebrations during the evening.

On Monday afternoon, a Palestinian woman was attacked by a group of young Jewish female religious students at a railroad station in Jerusalem, according to an eyewitness.  Dorit Dotan, who photographed the incident, said that the victim was repeatedly pushed and that her head covering was pulled off.  According to Dotan, a railroad security guard watched the incident smiling and did nothing to intervene.  There were about 100 people at the station who also passively watched, she said.   Dotan also said that the attackers had “drunk much wine because of Purim.”  The assailants boarded a train, leaving a stunned and angry victim and her elderly Palestinian companion at the station.  Further details about what led to the altercation or the identity of those involved are not known.  The police have opened an investigation,  although no complaint has been reported.

Ahmed Tibi, a leading Israeli-Palestinian member of the Knesset, said, relating specifically to the railway station attack, “The recent increase in attacks against Arabs is a symptom of a racist and intolerant society.  We are not speaking about drunks, but of racist thugs that the police must arrest and bring to justice.”

The sources of this post are the Israeli news websites:  Ynetnews, Ha’aretz (Hebrew), Walla (Hebrew) and NRG (Hebrew).

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