Former Israeli soldier assaulted in Germany because of ‘his faith’

The incident came days after German Jewish singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim alleged that he was turned away from a hotel in the city of Leipzig.

By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner 

Jewish groups and German politicians condemned an antisemitic attack on a 29-year-old former Israeli soldier in Berlin over the weekend.

On Friday night, unidentified assailants attacked the Berlin resident, who was wearing a jumper with an Israel Defense Forces emblem. Outside a train station in the German capital, the victim was approached by a man who “addressed him about his faith,” German police stated. The attacker sprayed irritant gas in his face, knocked him to the ground and fled. Berlin’s criminal police opened an investigation into what had been determined an antisemitic act.

“In the last few weeks, we have experienced a social climate in which antisemitism is repeatedly played down and denied,” said Samuel Salzborn, antisemitism commissioner for Berlin. “In such a climate, violent antisemitic criminals felt encouraged to follow up their thinking with antisemitic acts like [Friday’s attack].”

“One has to understand this connection: whoever plays down antisemitism, objectively strengthens, whether intentionally or not, a climate of hatred, antisemitic hatred of Jews and of Israel,” Salzborn added.

AJC Berlin said they “wish the victim a speedy recovery and hope that the perpetrator will be identified quickly.”

Anna Staroselski, president of the German Union of Jewish Students (JSUD) marked the incident as “another antisemitic assault.”

“The trivialization of antisemitism, perpetrator-victim reversal and a lack of moral courage promote the breeding ground for antisemitic attacks. Perpetrators feel encouraged to let their hatred of Jews run wild, because nothing happens anyway,” Staroselski said.

The incident came days after German Jewish singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim alleged that he was turned away from a hotel in the city of Leipzig because he was visibly wearing a Star of David pendant on around his neck, drawing outrage from the Jewish community.

“From the Star of David in the Leipzig hotel to the symbol of the Israeli Defense Forces in Berlin, it is a dangerous path,” said Uwe Becker, President of the German-Israeli society. “Anyone who uses Jewish symbols or symbols of the State of Israel and its institutions as triggers for antisemitic acts has no place in our society.”

Becker called for a greater focus on Israel-related antisemitism. “Preventively, schools should have a role in conveying an objective image of Israel to children and young people, and exchange and encounters must be promoted,” he urged.