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July 13, 2018 3:08 pm

Israeli Professor Attacked by Palestinian in Germany, Then Mistakenly Assaulted by Police

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A “kippah rally” in Berlin in April expressing solidarity with Germany’s Jewish community. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.

An Israeli professor was mistakenly assaulted by a police officer on Wednesday, after he reported a German-Palestinian man who attacked him for wearing a kippah in the western German city of Bonn.

The incident began when a 50-year-old academic from the University of Baltimore, in town for a guest lecture, was confronted by a 20-year-old German of Palestinian descent while walking with a companion, police said. The offender shoved the academic, hit his shoulder, and knocked his kippah off his head, while shouting insults in German and English, including, “No Jews in Germany!”

The victim fought back against the offender, who let him go and began fleeing the scene after hearing police sirens. The professor than ran after the man, and did not respond to requests to desist, giving officers the impression that he was the aggressor. They handcuffed him and — while he resisted — punched him in the face.

The attacker was ultimately arrested and taken to a psychiatric clinic, but later released as the institute’s doctors could not find reason to detain him.

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The city’s police chief has since apologized for the incident, saying it was “a terrible and regrettable misunderstanding.” The city plans to hold a “kippah day” in response to the attack, invoking recent “kippah” marches that have taken place in Germany in a show of solidarity against rising antisemitism.

The incidents followed several high-profile attacks against Jews in Germany, which has absorbed thousands of migrants fleeing from the Middle East in the past two years.

Last week, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary said he was verbally abused by a group of teenagers while walking to synagogue on Friday afternoon in Offenbach, Germany. “They shouted, ‘sh**ty Jew’ and ‘Free Palestine’ and other things at me,” the rabbi wrote on social media.

The following day, a man wearing a Star of David necklace in Berlin was subjected to antisemitic insults, knocked to the ground, and beaten by a group that included six Syrian migrants and three Germans, police said. The victim was hospitalized, and several individuals were detained and released pending investigation.

In June, a Syrian Palestinian migrant was convicted of an April assault against Adam Armoush, an Israeli-Arab man who told Deutsche Welle that he wore a kippah as an experiment to see “how bad it is to walk Berlin’s streets as a Jew today.”

The attacker, identified as Knaan al-Sebai, lashed his victim violently with a belt while yelling “Yahudi,” the Arabic word for Jew. He denied during his trial that the attack — which was caught on video — was motivated by antisemitism, and was sentenced to four weeks in juvenile detention.

Also in June, the body of Susanna Feldman — a 14-year-old Jewish schoolgirl — was found near her hometown of Mainz. She is believed to have been raped and strangled to death by Ali Bashar, a failed Iraqi asylum seeker who subsequently fled the country with his family. He was later extradited to Germany after Iraqi Kurdish authorities said he confessed to the crime.

The incidents have led more than 30 German Jewish to urge their government to take action on Monday, calling for public funding to only be granted to civil and religious groups that have publicly distanced themselves from antisemitism, as defined by the the International Alliance for Holocaust Remembrance.

The government announce last week that it would increase state funding to the Central Council of Jews in Germany, a federation of some 80 German Jewish groups that oversees educational and cultural activities.

“Our Jewish citizens should feel safe and secure in Germany, and whoever threatens our Jewish citizens, threatens us all,” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said at the time.

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