Defiant Israeli Owner of Ohio Restaurant Attacked by Machete-Wielding Assailant Says He Will Now Wear Star of David
The owner of the Columbus, Ohio restaurant in which four people were wounded in a machete attack last week said he will not let the incident deter his support for Israel, The Washington Post reported.
Hany Baransi, a Christian Arab from Haifa, displays an Israeli flag in the window of his restaurant, Nazareth Mediterranean Cuisine, which has been open for 27 years. When asked if he would consider removing the flag as a precaution, Baransi rejected the idea.
“Actually I have another flag, and I am going to get a bigger flag, and I am going to get a Star of David necklace and put it on my chest, and I am going to get a tattoo,” he said. “Honest to God, I am not kidding. They don’t scare me. We are Israelis. We are Israelis. We are resilient, we fight back.”
Though authorities initially said they believed that the attacker, Somali immigrant Mohamed Barry, terrorized the restaurant randomly, new information has surfaced making it seem likely that it was targeted because of Baransi’s being Israeli, according to The Washington Post.
Baransi said that half an hour before the attack, the assailant asked a waiter where the owner was from, and she told him he was from Israel. The attacker, 30, then left the eatery after learning that Baransi was not on the premises. He returned 30 minutes later wielding a machete and slashing diners.
“He came to each table and just started hitting them,” Karen Bass, who was in the restaurant at the time, told Ohio’s WBNS-10TV. “There were tables and chairs overturned, there was a man on the floor bleeding, there was blood on the floor.”
Baransi told the publication The Tower that Barry led police on a five-mile car chase, yelled “Allahu Akbar” and tried to attack officers with the machete before they shot and killed him. No cops were wounded during the attack and the four victims injured inside the restaurant are expected to recover.
Looking back at the attack, Baransi said, “You know, we are Israelis, used to this in our lives, people attacking us and wanting to kill us…We are used to these bastards. We are used to these kinds of attacks, that they hate us just for what we are.”
“I love my country Israel, and I will defend it until the day I die,” he added.
Nazareth Mediterranean Cuisine, located on 5239 N. Hamilton Rd., reopened on Monday morning.