TEL AVIV – A video of a 21-year-old Arab-Israeli dressed as a Jew being beaten by a belt-wielding Palestinian refugee from Syria in Berlin went viral last week, sparking outrage across Germany about the rising number of anti-Semitic attacks in the country.
After it was initially reported that he was Jewish, Adam Armoush revealed that he was an Arab-Israeli who wanted to find out whether it was safe to walk in the street dressed as a Jew. He said he wore a skullcap as an experiment after not believing a friend who told him it’s too risky to wear one in public in Germany.
“I’m not Jewish, I’m an Israeli, I grew up in Israel in an Arab family,” Armoush told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle. “I was saying it’s really safe and I wanted to prove it, but it ended like that.”
The video of Armoush being whipped with a belt while his attacker cries out “Yahudi!” or “Jew” in Arabic quickly went viral. Berlin police identified the attacker as a Palestinian from Syria named Knaan S. who was registered at a refugee home in Brandenburg state outside Berlin, but who most recently was living “out of a suitcase” in the capital.
— Jüdisches Forum (@JFDA_eV) April 17, 2018
In the video, Armoush lifts up his shirt and shows the bruises he sustained in the attack. According to police, the attacker later picked up a glass bottle to hit Armoush again but a passerby intervened.
“They kept cursing us and my friend asked them to stop cursing,” Armoush told Kan TV. “They started to get angry and one of them ran to me and I knew it was important to film it because there would be no way to catch him by the time police arrived.”
“Honestly, I’m in total shock that a thing like this could happen,” he said in the interview.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday condemned the assault as “a very horrible incident” and vowed the government would respond “with full force and resolve” against growing anti-Semitism in Germany.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted that “Jews shall never again feel threatened here.”
“It’s our responsibility to protect Jewish life here,” he wrote.
Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller also condemned the attack. “I denounce this renewed anti-Semitic attack in the sharpest terms,” Mueller said. “Anti-Semitism doesn’t belong to the Berlin we want to live in.”
Antisemitism has been on the rise across Germany, with 947 anti-Semitic incidents reported last year in Berlin alone, according to the RIAS group which tracks discrimination against Jews.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) April 18, 2018