Three Upper Nazareth teenagers were arrested on Saturday night for harassing an Arab woman, spitting at her and telling at her to leave the neighborhood.
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The woman lodged a complaint with police after the incident occurred on Friday evening, and the three 14-year-old boys were located and detained within 24 hours.
The three confessed to harassing the woman and apologized for their actions. They were released after promising to fulfill community police service by going to schools and explaining to local students why such actions were wrong.
Ahmed Issa, the husband of the woman who was attacked, said that his wife and 27-year-old daughter were walking on Friday at about 5:30 P.M. near a building belonging the Chabad Jewish outreach movement when a group of young people spat and swore at them.
"They called the police," the husband said, "who arrived at the scene within about five minutes. The attackers managed to run away but I understand they were caught yesterday [Saturday]."
Ahmed Issa said he and his family have been living in Upper Nazareth for 24 years, during which they have always had very good relations with their neighbors. "About three years ago," he added, "expressions of racism began to surface in the neighborhood after people from Chabad arrived. Friday's incident is already the third time in which we have encountered cursing, spitting and a variety of hostile comments. In those incidents, they shouted 'Get out of here. This is our land, our country.'"
"After those incidents, our neighbors came to our support," he said. "We have a lot of friends and outstanding relations with our neighbors. Unfortunately there are children who have been dragged into racism. It's not their fault, but rather the fault of those who pushed them into it." Issa said he and his family are not afraid that they would get hurt.
Meanwhile, two teenagers turned themselves into the Jerusalem Police overnight after confessing to involvement in a hate crime against an Arab woman and her Jewish friend in the capital last week.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Friday refused to extend the remand of another teen suspect who allegedly cursed and threatened the two women in a violent incident that also resulted in damage to a car. The 16-year-old was released to house arrest on NIS 3,000 bond.
The youth, who lives in the center of the country but attends a Jerusalem high school, was arrested Wednesday over the attack on Wahad Abu-Zamira, a resident of Kalansua, and Revital Valkov of Herzliya, both teachers at a Ramat Hasharon junior high school.
The two had come to pay a condolence call on the school’s principal, who was sitting shiva in the mostly religious Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Moshe, in an apartment situated near two yeshivas.
As they parked and walked toward the apartment, several religious teenagers on the street noticed the hijab Abu-Zamira was wearing. According to the women, 11 of them began to curse, spit, and throw objects at them. One of the objects smashed the car’s back windshield.
“They called me a Jewish bitch who has an Arab friend,” said Valkov. “They were screaming, ‘get away from here.’”
Valkov said the security guard at a yeshiva on the street did not respond to their pleas for help. At first they tried to seek refuge back in the car, but eventually they ran into the shiva house. After the two finished their visit, several other teachers took Abu-Zamira back with them to the center of the country, but Valkov drove off in her damaged car alone.
At a corner on her way out of the city, two youths swooped toward her car and slashed her tires − an act, she said, that could not have been spontaneous, but was clearly planned.
This was the latest in a series of apparent hate crimes committed against Israeli Arabs all over the country; in Jerusalem in particular there have been several such incidents, including racist graffiti. Early last week, on Purim, three teenage girls allegedly attacked an Arab woman at the Kiryat Moshe stop of the city’s light rail. The girls claimed the Arab woman had pushed them first.