A young Israeli tourist who was beaten up in Berlin on Saturday night in what police are investigating as an antisemitic attack has spoken of his “nightmare” ordeal.
“When they started beating me, I was like, ‘when will this nightmare end?’” the tourist, whose name was given in local media outlets as “Jonathan”, told the news site BZ.
The 19-year-old told police that he had been walking along Hedemannstrasse in the German capital’s Kreuzberg neighborhood with an 18-year-old female friend, whose name was given as Avia, at 10.15 on Saturday night when a car carrying four men pulled up beside them.
Three of the men got out of the car after reportedly having heard Jonathan speaking in Hebrew on his cellphone and confronted the pair.
One of the men spoke to Jonathan in German. “I told him that I didn’t understand,” Jonathan said. “Suddenly, I felt a punch and then I fell. Then the three of them started beating me.”
As Avia wept and called for help, the men carried on beating Jonathan. “When they were done with me, they drove away on their car listening to loud Arabic music; they really celebrated,” he said. “I was beaten up by Arabs because I’m Jewish.”
Jonathan was later taken to hospital with a mild concussion and minor injuries to his arm and face.
Despite the attack, the couple said they were determined to continue with their vacation in Germany. State security officials are investigating the assault as a hate crime, police in Berlin announced on Sunday night.
Ron Prosor, Israel’s Ambassador in Germany, condemned the attack. “Another Israeli is brutally attacked in the German capital. This is unacceptable!” he tweeted. “Israelis and Jews should not feel unsafe walking the streets of Berlin or any other German city. The German authorities must take every measure to stop these attacks and incitement against Israel and Jews before it is too late.”
RIAS, a state-funded antisemitism watchdog, reported 848 antisemitic incidents in Berlin during 2022, out of nearly 2,500 nationally. A total of 21 incidents involved physical attacks with one case of “extreme violence.”
Despite the steady year-on-year rise in antisemitic outrages in Germany, many officials believe the true number of incidents is much higher because many victims are unwilling to submit reports with the authorities.
“Only 20 percent of the antisemitic crimes are reported, so the real number should be five times what we have — 25 incidents per day,” Felix Klein — the top federal official in Germany combating antisemitism — told The Algemeiner in a recent interview.