22-year-old assaulted by 15 suspects due to sexual orientation - report

According to the victim, he was leaving the bar after meeting his friends and was walking toward his car when 15 suspects jumped him and began punching and beating him.

LGBTQ flag (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
LGBTQ flag
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A 22-year-old was brutally attacked on Saturday by 15 individuals, because of his sexual orientation, police suspect, N12 reported Sunday.
The incident took place outside a bar in Rishon Letzion. According to the victim, he was leaving the bar after meeting his friends and was walking toward his car when 15 suspects jumped him and began punching and beating him.
They then proceeded to break the windows of his car, according to the report.
"We were celebrating at the bar like we do every weekend. When leaving, 15 others left the bar as well and were singing behind us. They noticed me and called me a 'mithangel' (a derogatory word in Hebrew usually directed at homosexuals) - I didn't pay them any attention, and they asked: 'What, are you gay?' I responded that I was - and they started running toward me and my car, beating me up and pushing me around," the victim told N12.
"A car driver came out to help me, he put me inside his car while they were breaking my windows until police arrived," he added, noting that it was the first time he found himself in such a situation.  
Rishon Letzion Mayor Raz Kinstlich condemned the violent incident on Sunday evening, noting that the city will always remain open to everyone and will protect its liberal values.
"There is no greater threat in a country than internal polarization, a lack of acceptance and a serious shortage in the sacred value of 'love thy neighbor as thyself,"  Kinstlich  said. "The city will remain open, tolerant and liberal to anyone visiting or living within its borders."

אתמול התרחש אירוע חמור מאוד בעיר שלנו. צעיר, תושב העיר הותקף ככל הנראה - בשל נטייתו המינית, כך סתם, באמצע...
Posted by ‎רז קינסטליך - ראש עיריית ראשון לציון‎ on Sunday, 11 April 2021

A statement released by the Aguda - The Association for LGBTQ Equality in Israel and cited by N12 called the attack "a serious LGBTQ-phobic incident that must not be ignored."  
The statement added that "hate and LGBTQ-phobia harm every single one of us and we will do everything in our power to make sure that the criminals face justice."
In February, Facebook Israel and the Aguda announced that they were joining forces to combat LGBTQ-phobia during election season.
The annual LGBTQ-phobia report published by the Aguda’s Nir Katz Center found that cases of LGBTQ-phobia were reported once every three hours in 2020 in Israel, as 2,696 new incidents of hate and violence against the LGBTQ+ community were reported amid the coronavirus outbreak, a 27% increase compared to 2019.
In Arab-Israeli society, the Nir Katz Center found that while usually issues concerning the LGBTQ+ community are silenced in Arab society, the past year has brought a major change in the attitude of the Arab sector toward the issue.
A number of public figures used the coronavirus as incitement against the LGBTQ+ community, including a number of rabbis who blamed the community for the pandemic.
Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.