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University of Massachusetts Student Arrested for Punching a Jewish Student During Vigil

A University of Massachusetts Amherst student was arrested for allegedly punching a Jewish student and spitting on Israel’s flag during a vigil hosted on campus Friday, officials say.

The incident occurred at a “Bring Them Home: Solidarity Walk and Installation” organized by UMass Hillel, a Jewish organization on campus. The event featured empty seats at a Shabbat table representing the 240 people taken hostage by Hamas, the organization said.

The arrest is just the latest in a spate of incidents on college campuses during the Israel-Hamas war.

At UMass, the student suspect walked through the crowd at the gathering “aggressively giving people the middle finger,” UMass Amherst Hillel said in a statement Sunday.

After the event concluded and event security had left, the same student returned and then punched a Jewish student holding an Israeli flag and took the flag and spit on it, the organization said.

A Hillel staff member stepped in to de-escalate the situation, and the incident was witnessed by UMass staff, the statement said.

Hillel says that it “will continue to maintain increased security out of an abundance of caution,” although the university has no indication of an ongoing security threat.

Shelly Perdomo-Ahmed, the school’s interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life, and Tyrone Parham, assistant vice chancellor and chief of police, also said in a message to students that the individual had “assaulted a student who was holding an Israeli flag and proceeded to steal and spit on the flag.”

The assaulted student was not injured, school officials said. 

UMass Police investigated and the student, who was not identified, was arrested that same night and released on bail with a prohibition on returning to campus. 

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/umass-amherst-student-arrested-punching-jewish-pupil-spitting-israeli-rcna123787