Six teenagers arrested over J'lem beating of Arab

Five teenage suspects remanded in connection with attack on Arab man, 28; lawyer denies beating was racially motivated.

Suspects in court over Jerusalem attack on Arab man 370 (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Suspects in court over Jerusalem attack on Arab man 370
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Police arrested a sixth Jewish teenage suspect on Sunday morning in connection with last Thursday’s beating of an Arab man.
Twenty-eight-year-old Ibrahim Abu Ta’ah suffered a broken leg and other injuries while walking a coworker home from a club in the early hours of Thursday morning, after a group of teenagers attacked him in order to “protect” the Jewish girl he was accompanying. Police expect additional arrests.
On Sunday afternoon, four of the suspects, all Jerusalem residents between the ages of 14 and 16, were remanded at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court until Tuesday. A fifth suspect was remanded Saturday night until Monday. The youths and their family refused to speak to the media at the courtroom.
Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben- Ruby said the suspects arrested so far have admitted they were involved in the attack and told police investigators that they thought “the Arab was abusing the Jewish girl.”
Ehud Kaatani, a lawyer for one of the youths, dismissed the police’s claims that the motives were racist.
“There is absolutely no connection to nationalistic reasons,” Kaatani said outside the courtroom. “They are not part of one of those gangs that goes around Jerusalem looking for Arabs to beat up. This was a completely spontaneous action,” he said.
Kaatani said the incident was a result of “kids drinking alcohol and fighting among themselves.” The lawyer said his client as well as the other youth claim that Abu Ta’ah provoked them.
According to police, after they left the club, Abu Ta’ah was accompanying two Jewish co-workers to one of their apartments in the Katamonim. The group, who work together at the Mamilla Hotel, were on Rabbi Tzadok Street when they passed a group of about six or seven teenagers sitting on the side of the road. Abu Ta’ah told the media that one of his companions told him, “Ibrahim, just ignore them.” According to Abu Ta’ah, after the group heard his Arabic name they attacked him, beating his leg with a metal rod and punching him with their bare hands.
Abu Ta’ah was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Medical Center with a broken leg and underwent surgery on Sunday.
The attack against Abu Ta’ah comes exactly three weeks after the brutal beating of 17-year-old Jamal Julani in Zion Square, when the Ras el-Amud teenager was attacked by a group of a dozen Jewish youths chanting racist slogans. Eight youths and one adult were indicted in connection with the attack.