Two Teens Indicted for Homophobic Attack at Jaffa Port

Defendants, aged 15 and 17, shouted insults, spat and attacked the young couple, indictment reads

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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The Jaffa Port, as seen from the sea, January 5, 2019.
The Jaffa Port, as seen from the sea, January 5, 2019.Credit: Moti Milrod
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

The Tel Aviv District Attorney's Office filed an indictment in the Tel Aviv District Court on Saturday against two minors, aged 15 and 17 from Lod, for aggravated assault due to sexual orientation after they beat up two young gay men at the Jaffa port earlier this month.

According to the indictment, a group of Arab Israeli boys including the defendants were waiting in line at the Jaffa port to board a ship when they noticed the complainants and concluded that they were gay. They then began shouting insults and provocations at them, while one of the defendants and two others took turns spitting at them.

Later during the night, the victims were on the promenade when one of the attackers appeared behind them and threatened them, punching one of them in the face and kicking him in the legs, knocking him to the ground, and leaving the scene, according to the indictment. The other boys, including the defendants, allegedly later joined forces to attack the complainants again. In response, one of the complainants sprayed tear gas in all directions and his attackers withdrew. 

The attackers then chased after the complainants and continued shouting insults at them, who replied with insults in return. Later, the two sides began throwing chairs at each other. Itzik Avneri, the owner of the ship, intervened and helped disperse the attackers. 

Earlier this month, police said they had obtained “grim video evidence of the brawl, which was even disseminated on the internet.” In the video clip of the attack, two young men can be seen beating two others on a jetty. Another man tries to separate them and throws one of the attackers into the water.

At first, the reason for the attack was unclear and the police thought it was a business altercation. But when Avneri gave his testimony, he said there was no doubt the attack was the result of homophobia.

"The homophobic attack in the Jaffa Port is a horrific event that must not overlooked," lawmaker Ofer Cassif from the Hadash faction in the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties said last week. "I expect the attackers to be treated as perpetrators of a hate crime in every way... Homophobic hatred is as ugly and dangerous as any other form of discrimination." 

Cassif is the first representative of the Joint List, the major Arab political force in Israel, to comment on the event. In July, Walid Taha, one of his colleagues from the United Arab List, sparked controversy when he told Kan radio that "the gay phenomenon almost does not exist in the Arab community."

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