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'Suspects in brutal beating of two Palestinians tied to anti-miscegenation group'

Ten Jewish Israelis are suspected of severely beating two Palestinian men from Jerusalem in a wartime hate crime. Police believe some of the suspects are tied to right-wing anti-Arab group Lehava, Walla reports.

Several Jewish Israeli suspects in the brutal attack of two Palestinians from East Jerusalem on July 25th are connected to anti-miscegenation, anti-Arab group Lehava, according to a report by Walla! News on Monday.

In what Walla! describes as a “near lynch,” a group of about 10 Jewish Israelis from the East Jerusalem settlement of Neve Yaakov assaulted Amir Shwiki and Samer Mahfouz of Beit Hanina with bats and iron rods on a Friday evening during the height of the summer’s Gaza war (known in Israel as Operation Protective Edge). Both men were beaten unconscious and hospitalized in critical condition, only only recently improving to stable condition.

According to the report, the suspects had just left a shiva (Jewish ritual of seven days of mourning) for fallen IDF soldier Staff-Sgt. Moshe Malko, who was killed during an operation in Shujaiyeh in Gaza a few days earlier. From the investigation, it appears they set out looking to take revenge for Malko’s death. One of the suspects admitted in his interrogation that the motive for the assault was hatred of Arabs, according to Walla!. He added that he hates Arabs “just because. They are the enemy.” The investigation also allegedly revealed that several Jewish women who witnessed the beating did not call police, instead encouraging the attackers by screaming “death to Arabs.”

Neve Yaakov is a settlement in East Jerusalem adjacent to Beit Hanina, and the two communities have had violent confrontations in the past, especially since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir on July 2 and the subsequent Gaza war.

Nine of the 10 suspects are not cooperating with police but one of them, a 14 year old, did talk. He reportedly told police that his brother, who was also allegedly involved in the attack, is an active member of anti-miscegenation group “Lehava.” According to the Walla! report, police believe many of those involved in the attack are active members of Lehava, an organization whose stated mission is to combat Jewish intermarriage but in practice engages in rampant and blatant anti-Arab incitement and racism.

Police also reportedly found that two of the suspects had been arrested in the past (more than once) for assaulting Palestinians (neither of them ever served time in jail) and several of the suspects were caught trying to hide evidence and coordinate their stories and alibis. For those who read Hebrew, the Walla! report publishes excerpts from the police’s surveillance and wiretaps of the suspects’ WhatsApp messages and phone conversations.

Severe beatings of Palestinians by Jewish youth, called by some Israeli media outlets as “near lynches,” are unfortunately not a new occurrence. In August 2012, 17-year old Jamal Julani was beaten unconscious in the middle of Zion Square by a group of Jewish youth while dozens of onlookers screamed “death to Arabs.”

Lehava leader Benzi Gupstein – a former Kach member and sworn Kahanist – told Walla! in a comment that Lehava “follows the law.” Police told the news outlet that they are aware of dozens of the organization’s members who are involved in “serious incitement.”

Last month Lehava organized a large protest against the marriage of a Palestinian Muslim from Jaffa to a Jewish convert to Islam. Several years ago, an expose in Haaretz revealed that Lehava was indirectly funded by the government.

Related:
Palestinian-Jewish couple hires wedding security for fear of anti-miscegenation group
Why Palestinian citizens of Israel are no longer safe

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    COMMENTS

    1. bor

      If this information is provable by the police, these people should receive extremely long jail sentences. An example should be made out of them.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Joel

      I agree.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Richard

      Good idea – let’s try the suspects in the press. Because that’s how credible journalists show their respect for rule of law, amiright?

      Reply to Comment
    4. David

      This horrible incident and others like it bring to mind events taking place in Germany in the 1930s.

      Reply to Comment
      • Joel

        Incidents like this happen all over the world, but largely go unreported.

        That it reminds you of 1930’s Germany shows that you wear blinders.

        Reply to Comment
        • Eliza

          No Joel incidents like this do not happen all over the world. But,yes they do happen in some parts of the world; Israel is not the only place where bigots beat up others with impunity simply because they are of the wrong race/religion/ethnicity.

          And yes, these types of attacks do bear some parallel with 1930’s Germany. Again, Israel is not alone in that.

          Where Israel is alone is that it likes to portray itself as a western style democracy and to turn a blind eye to violence meted out by young thugs who are of the right religion to those who are not.

          These young Jewish boys will not be punished. You know and we know it.

          Reply to Comment
          • bor

            I’ve been hearing the “this is Nazi Germany in the early 1930s” lie for about 15 years now. It is amazing to me that while Oslo was ongoing, while Israeli PMs were offering the Palestinians peace and statehood, while two PMs acted on leaving the territories – Sharon left Gaza and Olmert was elected on a platform of leaving Judea and Samaria – that people still revert to this lie.

            Those people clearly know very little about Israel. They also know very little about Nazi Germany in the 1930s. The only other possibility is that they’re knowledgeable and simply lying through their teeth. Which are you, ignorant or a bigoted liar?

            Reply to Comment
          • David T.

            “… while Oslo was ongoing, while Israeli PMs were offering the Palestinians peace and statehood …”

            ROFL. You know excactly that Oslo was only a modification of the occupation and Israel’s term of “statehood” never means real sovereignty, but a sort of Israeli controlled bantustan.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bjorn

            Olmert expanded settlements too. Just as every Israeli PM has since the farcical “Peace Process” began.

            No PM ever “Offered Statehood”. The best ever offered was a nearly bisected West Bank criss-crossed with Israeli Only roads, continued IDF control of all borders and air-space for at least 20 years, no withdrawal of even *one* colonist for 12 years, non-negotiable land swaps picked by Israel unilaterally, a completely de-militarized Palestine, and an agreement that Israel could enter Palestine at any time to snatch anyone they called a terrorist.

            This was the “great deal” Clinton tried to jam down Palestines throat – an Indian Reservation.

            A Bantustan.

            Reply to Comment
          • Joel

            Incidents like this are happening today in France, where the victims are Jews are the perpetrators are Arabs.
            Am I wrong?

            Reply to Comment
    5. Shannon Hall

      I’ve been hearing the “Iran is Nazi Germany in the early 1930s, they plan a new holocaust” lie for years now, I’ve been hearing the “Hamas=ISIS, they both plan a new holocaust” lie for weks now. Are only right-wing zionists allowed to make nazi comparisions and why is that?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Josef

      I wish more American Jews would pay attention to what kind of society Israel is becoming. It resembles Mississippi in 1950 a lot more than New York in 2013.

      Reply to Comment