“We’re Jews,” shouted one of the assailants who pelted Lod resident Faiz Abu Ganem with rocks and bricks over a week ago. “Come on, you son of a bitch,” another howled, trying to pull Abu Ganem out of his car, as others, some of whom were draped in Israeli flags, beat him. “Don’t film,” one demanded, while another’s plea to stop the beating fell on deaf ears.
On the evening of May 12, Abu Ganem, 23, was driving to his home, near the Lod train station. About a half an hour before, the first curfew imposed on the city went into effect, in an attempt to curb the violence that had begun the day before. Abu Ganem was driving along Hativat Yiftah Street, which curves into David Hamelech Boulevard. After the turn, in front of the municipal library, he met an angry mob. Dozens of Jews were just waiting for an Arab to come to the area.
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“I saw death,” Abu Ganem said. “They didn’t care about anything, just one question ‘Are you a Jew or an Arab’? I didn’t have a chance to answer and somebody yelled ‘He’s an Arab.’ I saw the flags and I was afraid. I realized they were going to kill me. I thought it was the end.”
The assailants kicked Abu Ganem, stabbed him with a penknife, and tried to pull him out of his car. They threw bricks and stones at him, broke his windshield, struck the car with clubs and climbed on it. Abu Ganem defended himself from the driver’s seat, waiting for the police to come and save his life. A few minutes later Border Police personnel arrived and pushed the assailants away. As of Sunday morning, 11 days after the incident, no arrests have been made.
Abu Ganem was admitted to Shamir Medical Center in moderate condition, and remained there for six days. His arm was broken, his face was bruised and his ribs were injured. He has trouble walking, and is still traumatized by the incident. “I didn’t think at all that this mess would happen here, but only in the Old City,” he said. “We live here together, Jews and Arabs. I’m sure that whoever did this came from the outside. These are people who came to murder Arabs and go home.”
The incident was filmed and posted on social media by Abu Ganem’s father, Ali. The police called the ambulance, but Abu Ganem and his relatives said that the police never came to the hospital to take a statement from Abu Ganem. His car was not taken to be inspected and no evidence was collected from it. His father Ali towed the car home himself, and he said he found the penknife used to attack his son.
After Abu Ganem was discharged from the hospital, he filed a police complaint to receive compensation from the tax authorities for damage to his car. That same day the car was taken for inspection by the police, but according to Ali Abu Ganem, the police refused to examine the knife because they said other people had touched it. After Haaretz turned to the police on the matter, detectives asked the family for the knife. The police said the incident is still under investigation.