2018 Berlin anti-semitic attack
The 2018 Berlin anti-semitic attack was an attack on a street in the German capital of Berlin. Two young men wearing Jewish skullcaps were insulted by Arabic-speaking passers-by. One of the two, an Arab Israeli citizen, was beaten with a belt by a Palestinian attacker. Video footage led to public outrage.
There have been other similar incidents involving Muslim assailants in particular. A spokesman for the Jewish community said the attack showed that "Jewish people are not safe here".
The number of overall anti-Semitic offenses in Berlin has been rising in recent years. In 2017, police had registered 288 anti-Semitic acts; in 2016, 197 anti-Semitic cases had been recorded. The Research and Information Center Antisemitism Berlin (RIAS) counts a total of 947 anti-Semitic incidents for 2017, but there may be unrecorded cases.
On 17 April 2018, Adam Armoush, a 21-year-old Israeli Arab living in Berlin and his German friend of Moroccan origin went through a street in Prenzlauer Berg taking selfies while wearing kippahs. According to Armoush, he was trying to win an argument with Jewish friends of his in Israel by proving that he could walk through Berlin wearing a Jewish skullcap. At one point, an argument with three Arab-speaking young men started, which was followed by a violent attack. Armoush managed to document the violence with his cell phone and later allowed the video to be shared on Facebook, from where the video went viral. The video shows the main attacker, later identified as, Knaan Al-S., a 19-year-old Palestinian from a refugee camp in Syria who had come to Germany as a war refugee, beat Armoush repeatedly with his belt. During the onslaught, the attacker shouted the word "Yahudi", the Arabic word for Jew, before one his companions intervened and dragged him away. According to Armoush, the main attacker had also tried to hurt him with a glass bottle. As a consequence of the beating, Armoush suffered minor injuries. Before turning himself in to police, the main attacker contacted a representative of the Palestinian student community of Berlin and appeared in a short video that was distributed on social media. They denied he was hostile towards Jews or that his actions had been motivated by anti-Semitism.
The main attacker turned himself in accompanied by his lawyer the day after the incident. An arrest warrant against him was executed. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to four weeks juvenile detention.
Several politicians, among them chancellor Angela Merkel and foreign minister Heiko Maas condemned the attack. On the Israeli television, Merkel warned of persistent hatred of Jews in Germany. She spoke of a "different form of anti-Semitism" coming from people of Arab descent. After this and other incidents, the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, warned Jewish men "not to show themselves openly with a kippah in the metropolitan milieu in Germany".
Under the slogan "Berlin Wears Kippah" the Jewish community in Berlin called all citizens to wear the kippah on 25 April in solidarity with the victims.
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