Jewish boys [file].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Two violent weekend attacks on a young Jewish boy in New Zealand and an Israeli tourist in Berlin prompted additional warnings to be vigilant to Jews across the globe.
A four-year-old boy wearing a kippa was slapped on his head as he walked home from a Chabad house in Auckland, New Zealand.
The boy was said to be traumatized by the apparent anti-Semitic attack, which was witnessed by his mother, according to a report Sunday in the New Zealand Herald. The alleged offender was a man in his 20s “of Middle Eastern appearance,” said New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman, according to the article.
Goodman said the man apparently laughed as he fled in a car with several other men.
“Anti-Semitism in any form cannot be tolerated,” Goodman said. “Racially motivated attacks against children are cowardly and have no place in New Zealand.”
Goodman said that in the Jewish community, there had been talk of children not wearing their traditional clothes in public for fear of being abused.
“If an adult is verbally abused, they will know how to handle it. When these sort of things happen against children, it is quite a different story,” he said.
Race relations commissioner Susan Devoy in addressing the attack said, “When our Kiwi kids are scared to wear a yarmulke or a head scarf because some adult may abuse and attack them, we have failed,” she said.
According to the New Zealand Herald, young Middle Eastern men yelled insults in Arabic at a girl.
“In October, men in a car had yelled ‘F****n’ Jews’ at a young boy,” reported the paper.
Approximately 7,000 Jews live in New Zealand, mostly in Auckland, among a population of 4.5 million.
Arsen Ostrovsky, director of research at the Israeli Jewish Congress, told The Jerusalem Post that the attack is “out of the ordinary for New Zealand. The attack underscores the threats facing Jews and Jews must remain vigilant wherever they are.”
He added that “New Zealand is not Europe and Jews live in peace [in New Zealand] and welcomed and embraced by the broader community.”
Meanwhile, in Germany, Monday’s Der Tagesspiegel reported four men attacked an Israeli tourist in the West Berlin district of Charlottenburg.
According to the police, the men walked past the 22-year-old Israeli and turned around to pursue him. They punched and stepped on him multiple times.
The Israeli was rushed to the hospital with hand and head wounds. The police are investigating the background of the attack as well as if there was a political motivation.JTA contributed to this report.