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German Rabbi Attacked, Called ‘Dirty Jew’ in Front of Teenage Son

The Rabbi of the Jewish community in the German city of Potsdam faced antisemitic abuse in Berlin on Tuesday, according to German media outlets and local police reports.

Rabbi Ariel Kirzon, 43, who was on his way to the doctor together with his 13-year-old son, was standing on the sidewalk in front of a subway train station speaking on the phone in Hebrew, when a man walked towards him, purposely bumped into his shoulder and insulted him in an antisemitic manner, Berlin police said in a statement.

Speaking to German media outlets, Kirzon recounted that the attacker shouted: “you filthy Jew.”

The Rabbi told German daily Bild that at the time of the incident he was wearing tzizit, a Jewish ritual fringed garment worn by Orthodox Jewish men. “I was clearly recognizable as a Jew when suddenly an Arab-looking man insulted and attacked me,” Kirzon said. “He shouted and raised his hands, grabbed me, as if to hit me,” Kirzon recalled.

Following the incident, Kirzon filed a criminal complaint for bodily harm and insult with Berlin police authorities.

Berlin police authorities believe that the perpetrator left the scene of the incident in the direction of the subway train station. As part of the investigation, the police have secured video recordings of the station.

A total of 1,052 antisemitic incidents — an average of three incidents a day — were documented in Berlin in 2021, according a report by RIAS, a Berlin-based monitoring institute, which seeks to track cases that fall below the criminal threshold. The number compares with 1,019 cases in 2020 and 886 incidents in 2019.