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Eight Arabs arrested over TikTok abuse of mentally ill Israeli

The suspects, aged 18-24, are residents of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher, according to police.

Photo: Solen Feyissa / Unsplash.
Photo: Solen Feyissa / Unsplash.

Police arrested eight Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem on Friday on suspicion of verbally abusing a mentally ill Jewish man at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital during a TikTok live stream earlier that day.

According to the Israel Police spokesperson’s unit, the suspects taped themselves as they insulted and laughed at the ultra-Orthodox patient, who lay on the ground. The men also ordered him to curse the Israeli flag, express solidarity with the Palestinian city of Jenin, and eat food off the floor “like a dog.”

Local media said the full video lasted almost an hour.

Police say the eight suspects, whose ages range between 18 and 24, are residents of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher. The men were reportedly visiting a hospitalized friend who was injured during riots a few days earlier.

This was not the first instance of violence against Israeli Jews on TikTok. In the month leading up to the 2021 “Guardian of the Walls” riots, a clip of a Palestinian man attacking two ultra-Orthodox Israeli youths went viral on the popular video-sharing app.

In the weeks that followed, more and more clips of attacks on unsuspecting Israeli civilians started appearing on the social media platform, leading analysts to dub it the “TikTok Intifada.”

“There is a competition for likes and views. A video of an Arab slapping an ultra-Orthodox man will get you both,” a 15-year-old victim told the Ynet news site at the time.

Late last year, the Israel Police apprehended two Palestinian teenagers who filmed themselves harassing a religious Jew in Jerusalem’s Old City, ordering their victim to get on his knees and kiss their feet.

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