Teen arrested in connection with homophobic attack against same-sex couple in Jaffa Port, Israel

A boat owner intervened in the homophobic attack and pushed one of the assailants into the water to protect the same-sex couple.

man tries to protect other man from being attacked by man at Jaffa Port in Israel

A 16 year-old teenager has been arrested by police for questioning in regards to a vicious homophobic attack where a same-sex couple were assaulted and spat on at Jaffa Port, Israel

Video footage posted to social media shows a local boat owner coming to the rescue of two men who were attacked after they were seen kissing in public. The couple were reportedly victims of verbal abuse and physical assault by two assailants while around a hundred people looked on. 

According to Haaretz, police obtained this “grim video evidence of the brawl, which was even disseminated on the internet.” A teenager was later arrested on charges of aggravated assault and committing a hate crime.

In the video footage, a docked boat owner, Itzik Avneri, can be seen intervening in the attack, pushing one of the reported assailants into the water. When he allegedly asked one of the people why they spat on the couple, they answered, “Because we’re Arabs and they’re gays, and there won’t be gays among the Arabs, it gives Arabs a bad name.”

Speaking further about the violent homophobic attack in Jaffa Port, Avneri stated, “I jumped in to separate [them]… I pulled the victims out and put them into the private area of the port where the ships dock, because there is a fence there so I could protect them.”

“Two of the gang jumped over the fence and they began to hit and kick them… This violence was just because of the hate. There was no talk between them, all they did was look a little bit different, that’s all. What you don’t see in the video is 500 people, not a single one of them lifted a finger,” Avneri continued. 

An NGO for queer youths in Israel, IGY, released a statement regarding the attack, “The severe beatings seen in the video are the nightmare of every LGBT+ child in Israel. We congratulate the police on the prompt arrest of the criminals. It should be clear – violence against LGBT+ people continues to rage, and we must fight it with all our might, and in all parts of Israeli society.”

On August 4, the 16 year-old suspect was brought for a hearing in relation to extending his detention at the Tel Aviv Juvenile Court. Police stated that the investigation would continue.

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