(December 18, 2019 / Jewish Journal) An Israeli woman was left bleeding following an anti-Semitic assault on the New York City subway last week. In video footage of the incident posted on social media, the suspect can be seen and heard hurling anti-Semitic slurs at her and a Jewish man.
The woman, Lihi Aharon, explains in the video that the incident began when she asked the suspect, an unidentified African-American woman, to move her bags off the seat next to her. The woman refused, prompting Aharon to sit down next to an unidentified Jewish man wearing a yarmulke.
The woman then started to berate the Jewish man and praise the Dec. 10 Jersey City kosher supermarket shooting, saying she wished more Jews had been killed, according to Aharon. At that point, Aharon took out her phone to start recording the incident. The suspect knocked the phone out of Aharon’s hand, and when Aharon asked her friend to start recording, the suspect knocked her friend’s phone down as well, said Aharon.
“All of a sudden, she [the suspect] grabbed my face,” said Aharon. “It happened very, very fast, so I decided it’s not happening, and I had to fight back.”
Other passengers on the subway told Aharon she was bleeding, prompting her to press the emergency button to stop the train. The suspect was later arrested; the video footage shows her on the stairs at a subway station surrounded by police officers. She can be heard shouting anti-Semitic slurs, such as, “You f***ing nasty a** Jew,” as well as “Allahu Akbar!”
Aharon told i24 News she felt terrible for the Jewish subway passenger and embarrassed by the fact that other passengers just watched the incident unfold, viewing the woman’s actions as “another typical crazy person on the train.”
For her, she said, “it was more than that. It was … pure hate.”
Despite the assault, Aharon told i24 News she wasn’t going to start hiding her Israeli Jewish identity.
“I don’t think I should be scared or afraid of anything,” she said.
She encouraged Americans to stand up to anti-Semitism when they see it.
“People, please do not be quiet,” she said. “Please speak up. Please do something.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s New York and New Jersey branch tweeted in response to the incident: “Aware of reports that Jewish passengers were harassed and assaulted on the #NewYorkCity subway. We are in contact with law enforcement to find out more.”
A spokesperson from the New York City Police Department confirmed to the Jewish Journal that the suspect has been arrested for assault and that Aharon suffered lacerations to her face in the attack.
According to The City, a nonprofit New York City-based publication, there has been a 162 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents on the subway from 2018-19; 60 percent of which were graffiti and assaults.
This article was first published by the Jewish Journal.
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