Incitement on the telephone messaging application WhatsApp is suspected of leading to the beating of an Arab man by Jewish youths in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox Mea She'arim neighborhood, according to police.
Four people, three of whom are minors, were arrested after they allegedly took part in a WhatsApp group called "Jews against assimilation" in which they endorsed physically harming Arabs.
The four suspects were indicted this week on charges of conspiracy to commit a racist crime and assault.
Police arrested 24-year-old Haim Gamliel from Jerusalem last week on suspicion that he opened a number of WhatsApp groups and a Facebook page under a false identity, which instructed 'friends' in the groups to report on instances of "assimilation and Jewish girls in need of saving," and called for attacks against Arabs.
An Arab salesperson at a purse store in Mea She'arim was attacked by the youths, aged- 16-17 in January. An investigation into the attack found that the suspects carried out the assault in answer to a message from Gamliel on WhatsApp. Police claim Gamliel's message said that there was an Arab working in the Jewish-owned store and he requested that his "operatives" in the area go to the store to "take care of" the Arab employee.
The youths then allegedly arrived at the store, identified the Arab employee, physically assaulted him and fled. The youths were arrested last week. According to police they confessed to the attack under interrogation, saying that they did it because he was Arab, and they were sent there through the WhatsApp group.
Jerusalem Police on Tuesday released closed circuit footage of the beating from inside of the store.