Hasidic Jews Attack Palestinian Teens in Jerusalem; Police Arrest Arab Who Called for Help

Alleged assailants belong to the Hasidic sect of convicted sex offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland ■ Palestinian youth counselor who came to their assistance was arrested

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
Clashes in Jerusalem last year. Teens say Haredi men cursed and kicked them
Clashes in Jerusalem last year. Teens say Haredi men cursed and kicked themCredit: Haredi protest group
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

Two Palestinian boys aged 16 and 18 were assaulted in Jerusalem on Wednesday by Jews believed to belong to a sect of the Bratslav Hasids, yet police called to the scene for help arrested a Palestinian who had called for help rather than any of the Jewish suspects.

A Palestinian acquaintance of the boys called police, which arrived on the scene on the street where the leader of the Shuvu Banim Hasidic sect, convicted sex offender Rabbi Eliezer Berland, lives. Upon arrival, police canceled a call for an ambulance.

The incident was the latest of a list of violent assaults involving the rabbi’s followers. They have assaulted worshippers at a synagogue in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea She’arim and a Palestinian passersby near Damascus Gate.

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The youths who were hurt on Wednesday said that they had been walking down the street when a number of youths cursed at them and yelled at them to go away. When they tried to leave they were smacked and kicked. A Haredi adult helped extricate the youths from the area.

The two boys phoned Kamal Jabarin, a youth counselor for the city and brother of one of the assaulted teens. Jabarin tried to help get them out of the area, but the assailants followed close behind, shouting curses at them.

Jabarin then phoned the police, who came to the scene and questioned the victims. Two police commando forces arriving on the scene shouted at the victims that they shouldn’t have been in the area and ordered a medic to cancel a call for an ambulance that had been made because one of the youths who had been assaulted wasn’t feeling well.

When Jabarin intervened to ask why the ambulance call was canceled, the policemen ordered him placed under arrest.

File photo: Scene of an attack on Palestinians in Jerusalem, September 2018.

“He asked why should they even be there and began to humiliate us,” Jabarin said. “I told him why are you taking the responsibility of canceling the ambulance, and then he pushed me up against the wall, and handcuffed me saying I was under arrest for attacking a police officer.”

Jabarin was held for four hours and a case was opened against him alleging he had interfered with police work, despite the fact that he had been the one to call them to the scene.

In a video taken by Jabarin a policeman can be heard saying, “There are two youths here who came here as a provocation.”

In response, the Israel Police said: "The case is presented in a manner that transgresses the truth and distorts reality. The police arrived at the scene following a police report about an attack and found several young men clashing. The officers separated them and kept them apart, while Kamal Jabarin 'inflamed' the atmosphere and refused to obey orders."

The police statement continued: "Police asked Jabarin to identify himself, but he did not comply, telling the police, 'Why, who are you? I won't show you my ID.' At this point, the police had to detain him because of his behavior, but he resisted arrest and physically assaulted the officers. This situation could have been avoided if Jabarin had behaved as expected from a law-abiding normative person, instead of waving his belt, cursing, trying to escalate the incident, resisting arrest and attacking the officers."

In September, Jewish groups attacked Palestinian youths in Jerusalem in three separate attacks. A large group of Orthodox Jews near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem assaulted several Palestinians, while four Palestinian students were assaulted in Gonenim Park in the Katamon neighborhood by Jewish youths, who allegedly used a taser on some of their victims. Also in September, a Palestinian bus driver was assaulted in the Orthodox settlement of Betar Ilit on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

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