Arab Woman Attacked at Tel Aviv Clinic After Argument With 'Racist' Man: 'He Choked Me'

The man in question heard her negative comments in Arabic about Jewish Israelis, and the situation escalated into physical assault

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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Maha Ighbaria
Maha Ighbaria, who was attacked last week at a Tel Aviv health clinic.Credit: Louis Fishman
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

A young Israeli Arab woman was attacked last week by a man at a Maccabi Healthcare Services clinic in the center of Tel Aviv after he heard her making negative comments about Israelis in Arabic to a pharmacist at the clinic’s pharmacy.

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The assailant fled the scene and the police have not yet found him. The woman, Maha Ighbaria, took a picture of the man and posted it on Facebook along with a request for assistance in identifying him. She also asked for witnesses to the incident to come come forward.

Ighbaria recounted that while she was speaking to the pharmacist, another women began speaking to him. “I asked her for privacy, for me to finish and for her to move aside and then I uttered [something] in Arabic to the pharmacist that riled the gentle soul of the racist who attacked me,” she quipped.

“I had told him, ‘These Israelis. Wow, they’re always right, always entitled to everything and always complaining.’ It’s a common expression,” she said.

She and the man began arguing and it escalated from there. “Ultimately he insulted me and in Arabic told me, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself,’” she said.

Maha Ighbaria's Facebook post with a picture of her alleged attacker.

“When I told him not to choke me, he said that he would not choke garbage like me. He called me the daughter of a slut. I told him that I would call the police and then he attacked me. He pulled me by the neck and choked me. He continued cursing at me and the incident was over. When he realized that I was on the phone with the police and when I told them that I was filming him, he ran away. The pharmacist told me that he was afraid that this man stabbed me. I was shaking with fear. I wasn’t surprised that it happened in Tel Aviv. I was surprised that it happened in public.”

A woman named Yael who was a witness to the incident, told Haaretz, “I was talking to a friend when I began hearing shouting. The young woman told him, ‘You called me a slut,’ and he told her, ‘You’re garbage. You said Israelis are garbage. You yourself are garbage.’”

“He told her that he understood Arabic and knew what she said. He told her, ‘Get away from me,’ and she approached him. He choked her, attacked and grabbed her by the neck,” Yael said.

“She leaned back on a barrier separating the pharmacists’ stations. It looked scary. Following the blows, they separated the two of them. He sat down next to me and she spoke with the pharmacists and then someone told him to go and he got up and left,” she added.

Another witness, Avigail Pekelman, said, “I heard hysterical screaming. I was with my 7-year-old son, so I was afraid of getting close, but this man continued to swear. I heard him calling her a slut a number of times and then she yelled, ‘he choked me.’ After he ran away, she burst into tears. I hugged her and told her that she wasn’t alone. It was dramatic and without a doubt motivated by nationalism. He called her an Arab in a very disrespectful manner.”

“She has red marks on her neck,” another witness said. “Everyone there said it was nationalistically motivated.”

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