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March 9, 2022 2:46 pm
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Israeli Tourist Attacked in Berlin: ‘It Was Aimed at Hurting Israelis or Jews’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Schwebender Ring fountain in Berlin. Photo: Pexels

An Israeli tourist was attacked on Monday in Berlin, Germany, in what she described as an incident of antisemitic violence.

The victim, named only as “Osnat,” was with her husband in a heavily-trafficked area near the Berlin Zoological Garden on the final day of their trip to the German capital, Israeli news site Walla reported.

The pair, who have since returned to Israel, were looking for a specific store and took a shortcut down a side street. When Osnat fell a few paces behind her husband while checking a map on her phone, a random stranger punched her in the face.

“My face filled with blood, my temple split, blood dripped from my nose, which I felt had broken,” she recalled.

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She chose not to take an ambulance to the hospital, after the attendants would not allow her husband to accompany her because of his lack of English or German language skills. The police were called when the pair returned to their hotel and a complaint was lodged, but the couple has not heard anything further from authorities.

Osnat said that she is convinced the incident “was unequivocally an antisemitic attack. It was aimed at hurting Israelis or Jews.”

The assailant “watched us and apparently heard us speaking Hebrew, and waited until my husband distanced himself [from me].”

“I felt that,” she said. “Otherwise, there was no reason. I had an expensive iPhone 13 in my hand and he didn’t snatch it. He just hit me, examined the result in cold blood, and left. It wasn’t a robbery.”

The attacker, she added, “didn’t say a word. I remember him standing looking at me on the ground, a white man with a coronavirus mask. He looked around 25-30 [years old].”

Osnat said she was traumatized by the incident, partly because she is the child of Holocaust survivors.

“I burst into tears over and over when I think about what happened,” she said. “I can’t stop the tears. My mother herself was a Berliner who went through the war in hiding. My father is from Holland, he is also a Holocaust survivor who survived the Buchenwald concentration camp.”

According to data released by Germany’s Ministry of the Interior, more than 3,028 antisemitic crimes were recorded in 2021, 63 of which were violent assaults.

Walla spoke with an Israeli who lived in Berlin for 30 years, however, who cast doubt on whether the incident was a hate crime.

“Not all bullying is antisemitic,” he said. “There are enough bad people in the world, even in Berlin. … Sometimes people end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

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