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International Politics Blog

Monday, March 13, 2006

"We Don't Speak Arabic Here"

By Jack Khoury and David Ratner

"I pretended I was dead, I opened my eyes and didn't move. I couldn't feel the pain anyway. My brother Jalal was lying next to me - he didn't have to do anything because he was at death's door."

Mohammed Tawili, 21, from Tamra was describing the moments after he and his brother were attacked by a gang in a parking lot in the bayside town of Kiryat Yam.

Tawili came to the Zevulon police station to identify his assailants yesterday wearing the same blue shirt, now torn and blood-stained, that he had on at the time of the attack. His arm was in a cast and his nose was bandaged.

"They attacked us with clubs and stones and chains to murder us, not just to attack, because we were Arabs," he said.

On Friday evening, Tawili said, he and his younger brother Jalal, 20, a soldier, and two other friends from Tamra called the girlfriend of one of the group, from Kiryat Yam, and suggested they go out to the club area in the bay. They brought her home at around 2 A.M. One of them escorted her home, and the other three waited in the car listening to Arab music.

Then, Tawili said, a guy came up to them and told them to turn off the music because "we don't speak Arabic here." The two brothers got out of the car, and then a whole group of young men came out "with chains and clubs."

The third friend managed to flee with the car, while the brothers tried to escape on foot.

"They came at us with everything they had - it was a lynch. While they were hitting us they were cursing Arabs," he said.

After they were left for dead, Tawili said, "I called for help in Hebrew and Arabic a few times, and a few minutes later a woman who had seen what happened from her window said she had called for help," he said.

The attack happened in what is considered a good part of town. A new immigrant from Russia said he saw the assault from the his window and that somebody shouted for the police. A woman passerby said, "Everybody should stay in their own place. What would happen if Jewish guys came to an Arab town and dropped an Arab girl off at 2 A.M.? Would they come out of there in one piece?"

Sixteen-year-old D., who spent the evening with the brothers and with her boyfriend, R., is a new immigrant from Russia. She has a different point of view.

"They are my friends, and I feel terrible about what happened," she said. "This should never have happened. My boyfriend and I will stay together because I love him. I have no idea why those guys attacked my friends," D. added.

Tawili left the police station without being able to identify any of his attackers, and the suspects were released.

"I really hope the police get them; this is not just like any other brawl. It's attempted murder," he said.

The police, however, apparently prefer to call the incident "ordinary deviant thuggery common in our country." An officer added that summer was a more typical time for clashes between Jews and Arabs in the area, when gangs meet on the beach to fight.

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** MARCH 2006 **

Archives

previous posts
Poll: 68% of Jews would refuse to live in same building as an Arab
"We Don't Speak Arabic Here"
A War of Religions? God forbid!
Beta Testing
Yet another test
test again
this is a test
archives
02/19/2006 - 02/25/2006
03/12/2006 - 03/18/2006
03/19/2006 - 03/25/2006


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