The victim of an anti-Semitic assault in Berlin on Tuesday, which was strongly condemned by senior German officials, has been revealed to be non- Jewish, and an Israeli Arab.
“I am not Jewish, I am an Israeli and I grew up in Israel in an Arab family,” Adam Armush, 21, told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle on Wednesday. “It was an experience for me to wear the skullcap and go out into the street yesterday.”
Armush explained that he and a friend put on kippas to find out for themselves if it really was dangerous to appear as a Jew on a Berlin street.
He said he filmed the attack “for the police and for the German people and even the world to see how terrible it is these days as a Jew to go through Berlin streets.”
One of the three assailants was caught on film whipping him with a belt while calling out, “Yahudi,” or “Jew” in Arabic, before he was stopped by a passerby.
The incident prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel to say: “This is absolutely a terrible incident and we must act,”. “The fight against such anti-Semitic acts must be won, the reputation of our state is at stake, and we are committed to it with all our strength.”
Justice Minister Katarina Barley called it a “disgrace” after the brief video surfaced on news websites. “It is unbearable that Jews in Germany are attacked on the open street in the middle of Berlin,” Barley tweeted.
Israel’s Kan public broadcaster interviewed Armush near his home in Prenzlauer Berg, a Berlin neighborhood:
“It happened right here, next to my home, when I was on my way to the train station with my friend,” Armush told Kan. “The truth is, I’m surprised something like this happened to me. I’m still in shock.”
“We came out of our home, my friend and I, wearing our kippas, and walked down the street. We weren’t talking with anyone else. Three people came from over there” — he points down the street — “and started cursing us from over there. We didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t answer them. So when they kept cursing us, my friend asked them to stop cursing, and that got them angry. So, one of them ran at me. I immediately felt it was important to film, because I didn’t think we could catch him before police arrived. I wanted to give police something to go on.”
Even worse was the location of the attack, a “bourgeois” area and not in a “majority Muslim quarter,” said Joseph Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany
“This case must be met with the full force of the law,” he told AFP.