Druze Man Attacked in Jerusalem 'For Speaking Arabic'

Tommy Hasson, who recently completed his IDF service, says ten religious Jewish men assaulted him near central bus station.

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A Druze man was beaten on Thursday by Jewish assailants near the central bus station in Jerusalem, in what appears to be a racially-motivated attack. The man, Tommy Hasson, sustained light injuries and was taken to hospital.

Hasson, who completed his army service a few months ago and is now a student in the city, told Ynet website that ten religious men assaulted him after hearing him speaking in Arabic.

Israel Police said it is investigating the incident, and that it is too early to determine whether it was racially-motivated.

President Reuven Rivlein posted a picture of himself with Hasson on his Facebook page on Friday. "I told [Hasson's] father that we are brothers, and we will reject from our midst any conduct so terrible," Rivlin wrote.

In recent months, following the kidnap and murder of the three Jewish teens Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, there has been a sharp rise in attacks against Arabs in the capital. Some of these attacks have been attributed to the anti-Arab organization Lehava, which last month ceased its public activities after several activists were arrested by police.

Last December, 100 Arab bus drivers in Jerusalem quit their jobs to protest the wave of attacks. The drivers said police are slow to react, and also accused the Egged bus company of not doing enough to protect them.