Another Day in Berlin: Rabbi Attacked, Spat Upon and Insulted in Arabic
Another rabbi has been attacked in the streets of Berlin, the German capital, by male assailants who pushed him to the ground and insulted him in Arabic.
German news outlet Bild reported on Thursday that Jan Aaron Hammel, described as a “volunteer rabbi,” was attacked on Tuesday night shortly after leaving a meeting of the Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Antisemitism (JFDA), a local activist group. Hammel said that he heard male voices behind him seconds before he was aggressively pushed over, spat upon and verbally abused. By the time the 54-year-old was back on his feet, the men had fled the scene.
Hammel was treated for injuries sustained in the attack at a Berlin hospital and is now walking with the aid of crutches.
“I do not know if the perpetrators recognized me personally,” Hammel told Bild. “Or if I was simply attacked as a Jew. They insulted me in Arabic and then pushed me.”
Bild remarked that it was “terrible” that Hammel — who is visibly identifiable as Jewish, always wearing a kippah and tzitzit — added that he was accustomed to receiving antisemitic abuse.
“I’m used to being spat at, to someone shouting threats as they pass me,” Hammel said. “I understand that it’s an expression, and I’m trained not to take it personally.”
The attack on Hammel follows two separate antisemitic assaults — both involving rabbis and their families leaving synagogues following Shabbat services — during the last month in Germany.
In one incident, Berlin Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal was set upon by two men while walking with his son; they insulted him in Arabic and then spat at him. In the other incident, in the south German city of Munich, a local rabbi and his two sons were abused as “Sh_t Jews” and spat upon by a man and woman.