Calling to fight racism in Tel Aviv and across the country, some 100 people
gathered on the city’s beachfront promenade on Monday, near where more than a
dozen youths savagely beat an Israeli-Arab man the previous day.
rally was attended by MKs Dov Henin (Hadash), Stav Shaffir (Labor) and Tamar
Zandberg and Esawi Freige, both from Meretz.
Freige, from Kafr Kasim,
said the attack on 40-year-old Hassan Ausruf was “a direct result of the
political racism we are living with in Israel.”
Ausruf’s injuries include
a fracture in his right eye socket and deep lacerations on his right ear and
across almost his entire head. His vision is blurred in his left eye, but he can
make out small numbers and letters, doctors said. His wife Neriman said he did
not suffer any deeper injuries or a concussion during the beating.
attacks “start at the top,” Freige said, and can be linked to statements by political leaders such as
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who famously referred to Arab MKs as “Zoabis,” in
a reference to MK Haneen Zoabi of the Balad party.
“For 65 years, since
1948, we’ve lived with this racism, and this won’t be the last incident,” Freige
He expressed agreement with Jaffa youth activist Abed Abu Shehada,
who said at the gathering that Israeli Arabs live without a sense of personal
security and that “police are just a private security company for the Jews;
there are no police for the Arab sector.”
Henin called for Tel Aviv
Municipality workers to hold a one-hour strike in solidarity with Ausruf, who
was performing his job as a municipal street cleaner when he was attacked on
Detectives from the Tel Aviv Center police precinct were still
gathering evidence from the scene of the crime, including surveillance camera
footage and forensic evidence, Tel Aviv District spokeswoman Orit Friedman said.
She would neither confirm nor deny whether this included DNA, but did say that
police did not have any suspects.
Ausruf, 40, told police that he was
working on the promenade around 4:30 a.m. Sunday when at least 15 youths around
18 to 20 years old attacked him. They hit him with a bottle and a garbage can
and beat him repeatedly, calling him a “dirty Arab,” with one of them saying,
“You’re trying to steal our country from us.”
Ausruf was taken in for
X-rays on Monday afternoon at Ichilov Hospital at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel
Aviv, so that doctors could see the extent of the damage to his eye socket. At
the ophthalmology ward, Neriman Ausruf kept an eye on the couple’s three kids,
aged three, five, and nine, as she juggled phone interviews to Hebrew and Arabic
media outlets and visits from parliamentarians and Tel Aviv City Council
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai was one of the visitors. He was
“deeply saddened by the fact that violent acts of racism are still part of our
daily lives,” he later wrote on his Facebook page.
Neriman Ausruf related
that, on Sunday at around five in the morning, she was sleeping at home when her
husband’s co-worker Yisrael called her. He told her he found Hassan beaten and
covered in blood on the promenade, and that they had just arrived in an
ambulance at the emergency room.
She went to Ichilov, found her husband
in a hospital bed and began sobbing.
“I thought he was just beat up, that
some kid hit him a couple of times, but I got here and he was covered in blood
and cuts, his eye was swollen shut and he told me, ‘They beat me up on the
promenade, they beat me,’ screaming, and then he passed out,” Neriman Ausruf
She appeared worn out and worried, but more than anything else,
puzzled by the sudden and brutal attack.
“I’ve lived my whole life in
Jaffa and grew up with Jews, Jewish neighbors and co-workers, and we never had
these problems before, never,” she said. •