Three brothers arrested for attack on Arab man in Jerusalem

Police investigating attack as possible hate crime; suspects say the acted in self-defense.

Man in handcuffs - illustrative (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Man in handcuffs - illustrative
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Three brothers from the Jerusalem area were brought before a judge in the capital on Tuesday following their arrest Monday night on suspicion of violently assaulting a local Arab man in what is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
The brothers, ages 21, 28 and 31, stand accused of assaulting the man, a laborer who was working on Yehuda Hamaccabi Street in the city. Two of the brothers allegedly pulled up next to a group of Arab laborers at the site and an argument began. The brothers left and returned with a third brother.
The laborers began to flee the scene, but one of them was cornered in a nearby store and beaten.
The victim, who was lightly hurt, submitted a police report before going for treatment at a local clinic.
Footage from the store’s surveillance cameras was posted by Ynet on Tuesday. It shows the Arab man running wildly into the store while two of the brothers give chase; one is holding a broom and the other appears to have something in his hand as they swing at the man, who is off-screen. Moments later the third brother arrives and joins the attack.
Jerusalem Police spokesman Asi Aharoni said the three men did not deny assaulting the man but said they had acted in self-defense.
“I’m not sure how it can be self-defense since they chased after him and attacked him,” Aharoni said. He added that police were probing all possible motives but had not yet determined whether it was a hate crime or simply an argument that became violent.