A kosher restaurant in Amsterdam was attacked for a second time on Friday by the same assailant who vandalized the restaurant previously.
Saleh Ali, 31, a Syrian migrant, was the two-time vandal named in the police statement. It was reported he smashed the windows of the HaCarmel restaurant and burned an Israeli flag hanging in the establishment, according to Dutch newspaper Het Parool.
Officers on Friday morning used pepper spray to subdue the 31-year-old man, Saleh Ali, outside HaCarmel restaurant, the Het Parool daily reported. He had used a metal pipe to smash the restaurant’s windows and was holding a lighter in the other hand.
He refused to let go of the objects, when police subdued him, police said in a statement. It called Ali’s actions “vandalism.”
“This is the umpteenth time. What can you do about it? I have always said it is getting worse. And the authorities keep saying that it is not terror but that the perpetrators are crazy,” Bar-on said, according to the Algemeiner. “It’s almost becoming normal.”
In 2017, Ali broke the windows of HaCarmel with a baseball bat while waving a Palestinian flag, stole the Israeli flag that was present in the restaurant at the time and smeared the restaurant with eggs and mayonnaise.
He was convicted of vandalism after 52 days in jail while awaiting his trial but was released with no additional penalty after it was ruled by a judge he had diminished responsibility in the attack – meaning he suffers from an unbalanced mental state that considers him less accountable for the crime, bringing about a reduced charge with it.
Dutch Jews criticized the ruling because it did not contain a reference identifying his actions as a hate crime.
“If you look at his case and hear his statement in court, this is no surprise. This time [the charges involve] destruction and arson with a terrorist motive,” said the Bar-on family lawyer Herman Loonstein, adding those are the crimes he intends to charge Ali with.
The Dutch Jewish NGO Central Joods Overleg (CJO) is requesting the incident be classified as antisemitic, demanding a steeper punishment be delved out this time around, according to the Algemeiner.
According to Hidde van Koningsveld, policy officer at the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, which monitors antisemitic incidents in the Netherlands, the attack was the fifth case of vandalism or intimidation on the restaurant in 2 ½ years.
“Five incidents in two years are no longer a coincidence, no confusion, no arbitrary vandalism. We can’t look away anymore. If a kosher restaurant is no longer safe, something is very wrong. This is an act of pure antisemitism,” the CJO said in a statement.
In January, unidentified perpetrators placed a box resembling a homemade bomb on the restaurant’s doorstep.