Bus Driver Says Two Israeli Teens Beat Him After Making Sure He Was Arab

Driver tells the Israel Police that while driving in Modi'in Ilit, his bus was blocked by a vehicle. Two young men got out of the car, recognized him as an Arab, beat him and then fled the scene

Screen capture from Twitter of video showing driver after the alleged attack
Twitter

An Israeli Arab bus driver said he was attacked by two youths on Thursday night. The man was lightly wounded and was evacuated to a hospital. Police have opened an investigation into the incident.

The driver told the Israel Police that while driving in Modi'in Ilit, his bus was blocked by a vehicle. Two young men got out of the car, recognized him as an Arab, beat him and then fled the scene.

A video which circulated on social media following the attack shows the driver sitting in his bus, bruised and bleeding from his eye as a small crowd gathers in the street.

Other drivers reportedly stopped their buses and asked their passengers to disembark, refusing to continue their routes in a show of solidarity with the man who was attacked.

The driver's brother, Tayir, told Haaretz his brother is hospitalized in Jerusalem with severe bruises to his face and body, including a fractured eye socket as a result of being directly hit with brass knuckles.

Tayir confirmed his brother's account of the incident, saying he was first attacked by "two who looked like settlers" and were joined by other people.

"His life was in danger and they brutally attacked him for one reason, that he's an Arab," Tayir said, adding that his brother was attacked in a similar incident las year, but kept working to provide for his family.

"I really hope the police will reach those suspects, because otherwise they could repeat this or inspire others to continue to do these things," he said.

The operator the driver works for, Kavim, confirmed several of its drivers in Modi'in Ilit are independently striking in protest against violence towards them.

The company also released a statement on Friday, saying: "The company's management will not tolerate any kind of violence towards its employees and will act to exact justice against anyone who performs an act of violence. The company is working vigorously to restore activity back to normal along with investigating the affair."

On Wednesday, police arrested four Israeli minors aged 15 to 17 under suspicion of involvement in spraying inciting slogans and slashing car tires in the northern Israeli Arab village of Yafia in October.

The walls of two homes in the village near Nazareth were spray-painted with the words "revenge" and a Star of David. Some 20 cars were damaged, and on some of them perpetrators had scrawled graffiti that read "Price tag" and "Mutual responsibility."

The suspects were released to a house arrest under limiting conditions following their interrogation.

The day prior, police reported  they are investigating a potential hate crime in the village of Beitin in the central West Bank, about five kilometers north-east of Ramallah.

A number of cars in the village were damaged and had their tires slashed. Spray-painted messages in Hebrew were found on the walls, reading, "I cannot fall asleep while blood is spilt here," and "We don't sleep while God's name is desecrated."