Israeli attacked by Arab youth in NY

25-year-old rabbinical assistant assaulted by group of teenagers screaming "Allah akbar."

March 19, 2008 22:50
1 minute read.

A 25-year-old Israeli rabbinical assistant was assaulted by a group of Arab teenagers screaming "Allah akbar" in Brooklyn on Tuesday evening. Uria Ohana, originally from Kfar Chabad, entered a subway station in the affluent Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn Tuesday evening, on his way to a lecture in Manhattan, when he noticed a group of Arab teenagers congregated on a bench in the station. Ohana did not exchange words or make eye contact with the group, but proceeded upstairs to his train. On his way, he felt someone grab his kippa from his head and then heard laughter. Ohana decided to chase the boys to retrieve his kippa. The 18-year-old boy who grabbed the kippa left the subway station and ran into the street, where he was hit by a car, breaking his leg. While Ohana chased the boy, the other teenagers began chasing him, screaming "Allah akbar." "They screamed at me, 'Did you see what happened to him because of you?'" said Ohana, a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical assistant who works in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Two of the Arab boys then started kicking and punching Ohana in the face. "As soon as they started screaming, I understood [the attack] was racial," said Ohana. The crime is being investigated as aggravated harassment and a possible bias crime, according to a New York Police Department spokeswoman. "I am almost sure it will be charged as a hate crime," said the spokeswoman. "I'm sad that this kind of attack is coming to New York after seeing this in Israel," said Ohana. "An Arab teenager attacking a Jew for being a Jew scares me as a Jew." Ohana said one police officer brushed the incident off as a case of a teenager who "doesn't know what 'Allah akbar' means. "This scares me in a global context, Arabs taking national pride one step forward," said Ohana. The youth who was hit by the car was taken to the Lutheran Medical Center to be treated for his broken leg and was placed under arrest. The other two boys fled the scene and have not yet been apprehended.

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