JERUSALEM (JTA) — Seven Israeli Arabs were arrested in an attack on two off-duty Israeli soldiers in Haifa.
The soldiers, who were in civilian clothing, were attacked last Friday night outside Rambam Medical Center. A group of Israeli-Arab men first asked if the soldiers were Jewish, according to reports, before assaulting them with rocks, metal bars and planks of wood.
The words “you dog” and “PLO” in Hebrew letters reportedly were carved into the head of one of the soldiers.
Six of the assailants were ordered held in jail for five days Sunday by the Haifa Magistrates’ Court. A seventh suspect was arrested Sunday.
The suspects reportedly said they were not targeting Jews but were looking to exact revenge on those who threw rocks at their home. They said the attack was a case of mistaken identity. The soldiers, who remain hospitalized, maintain that the attack was nationalistic in nature.
Israel police say Haifa attack of 2 IDF soldiers not politically motivated
Despite earlier suspicions that an attack of two IDF soldiers in Haifa on Friday was politically motivated, Israel police now believe the incident was a case of bullying related to an earlier argument that did not involve the soldiers.
In Friday’s incident, the two soldiers, dressed in civilian clothing, said that they were attacked by some ten people next to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, when a car carrying a number of Arab passengers approached them. The passengers asked them if they were Jewish, and proceeded to attack them with stones. Security guards at the hospital, who heard shouts, came to the site of the struggle and saw the vehicle leaving the site.
Although the two soldiers claimed the incident was based on nationalist, political grounds, after police detained a number of suspects in the incident it turned out that the attackers were looking to avenge other youths who had thrown stones at their houses, and that they attacked the soldiers by mistake believing they were those responsible.
Acts of brutality like this on both sides are horrible. The violence on the larger scale is bad enough without the hate and animosity and violence between normal people that just make the situation so much worse and sickening. This is a problem that no “wall” is going to fix, what we need is education and more interaction and dialogue between the two societies and even with that, until the assholes in charge can’t get their shit together or until we as an international community don’t pressure them enough to end this senseless conflict, this senseless brutality is going to continue because the injustice of the situation and the taught hate that is a direct result of the conflict are the underlying causes of all violence like this.