A teenager from Israeli city of Lod has been arrested after allegedly harassing, beating and spitting on a young Arab gay couple while hundreds of people stood by and watched.
According to Haaretz, police obtained “grim video evidence of the brawl, which was even disseminated on the internet”. The video clip shows the 16-year-old and another suspect attacking the gay couple at Jaffa Port in Israel.
The gay couple, believed to be Arab Israelis, were reportedly attacked after they were spotted kissing by a boat in the harbour. The teenager was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and committing a hate crime.
המשטרה עצרה אתמול לחקירה נער בן 16 מלוד בחשד שתקף שני נערים בקטטה בנמל יפו ממניעים להטבופוביים. הוא יובא היום לדיון בהארכת מעצרו בביהמ”ש לנוער בתל אביב | תיעוד התקיפה@daniel_elazar pic.twitter.com/NsYHQY7uM0
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Itzik Avneri, the owner of the boat that was docked next to where the attack took place, tried hold back the attackers and even pushed one into the water.
In his testimony, Avneri said: “I have a tour boat in the port, and there was the holiday [Eid al-Adha] for the past few days when a lot of Muslims come to the port to have a good time and take a cruise.
“Two guys got on the boat to go sailing and when it ended, they got off and sat on the dock next to each other. Other people saw them and spat at them.”
He said he asked one of the people why they spat at the couple, and said they responded: “Because we’re Arabs and they’re gays, and there won’t be gays among the Arabs, it gives Arabs a bad name.”
The group left on Avneri’s boat, but returned a short time later and began attacking the gay couple.
He continued: “I jumped in to separate [them]… I pulled the victims out and put them into the private area of the port where the ships dock, because there is a fence there so I could protect them.
“Two of the gang jumped over the fence and they began to hit and kick them… This violence was just because of the hate. There was no talk between them, all they did was look a little bit different, that’s all.”
“What you don’t see in the video is 500 people, not a single one of them lifted a finger,” he added.
IGY, an NGO for queer youth in Israel, said in a statement: “The severe beatings seen in the video are the nightmare of every LGBT+ child in Israel.
“We congratulate the police on the prompt arrest of the criminals.
“It should be clear – violence against LGBT+ people continues to rage, and we must fight it with all our might, and in all parts of Israeli society.”
Police said the investigation would continue, and the 16-year-old suspect will appear at a hearing on Tuesday, 4 August.
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