Tuesday, April 23rd | 16 Nisan 5784

March 4, 2020 6:07 pm

Antisemite Who Assaulted Jewish Student on NY Subway Will Be Tried for Hate Crime

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Lihi Aharon was left with a facial scar after she successfully fought off an antisemitic assailant on the New York subway. Photo: Screenshot.

A woman was indicted on hate crimes charges by a grand jury in Manhattan on Wednesday for an antisemitic attack on a Jewish student on the New York subway.

Zarinah Ali pleaded not guilty to the charge of assaulting Israeli national Lihi Aharon as the pair were traveling separately on the subway last December. A date for Ali’s trial is being scheduled.

The fracas occurred when Aharon boarded a train and asked Ali to remove her belongings from the adjacent empty seat so that she could sit down. Ali refused the request and Aharon found another seat next to a man who happened to be wearing a kippah. Ali then directed a volley of antisemitic abuse at the Jewish man.

Much of the Ali’s expletive-laden tirade was captured by Aharon on her camera phone. In an attempt to stop Aharon from filming the abuse, Ali lashed out at her and grabbed her camera. In the ensuing melee, Aharon’s face was badly scratched, leaving her with a deep scar.

Along with the stream of insults, Ali expressed joy at the gun attack on a kosher market in Jersey City the previous week, emphasizing that she wished that all Jews would share the same fate. She also repeatedly used the Islamic religious phrase “Allahu akhbar” as she sniped at Aharon and the Jewish man alongside her.

After Ali was arraigned on Wednesday, Aharon said she hoped that her experience would illuminate the broader problem of hatred.

“I still bear the physical and emotional scars from my attack, and I expect they will be with me for many years to come,” Aharon said in a statement. “Today, at least I can feel satisfied that my attacker will be held responsible for her actions and I hope that my experience may help bring this type of hatred to light.”

Brooke Goldstein — executive director of The Lawfare Project, an NGO that assisted Aharon — noted that the grand jury “held a ranting antisemite accountable and indicted her with a hate crime for her unprovoked, violent attack against a Jewish woman in a NYC subway.”
Said Goldstein:  “At a time of grave crisis for the Jewish people, this indictment sends a strong message that violence against us will not go unnoticed and will not go unpunished.”

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