Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Gaza Man Not Convicted Of Hate Crime For Attacking Jew In Kippah In Switzerland

(JTA) — A Palestinian man who assaulted a Jewish man wearing a kippah on a train in Switzerland was sentenced to four months in prison for assault, but was not convicted of a hate crime.

The assault occurred in February aboard a train near Lausanne, the German-language 20 Minuten news website reported Monday. It had not been reported in major Swiss media prior to this week.

The perpetrator, a 40-year-old man who was born in Gaza, identified only as Mohammed, threw a shirt in the face of the victim, identified as Israel. He stole the victim’s water bottle, book and kippah, throwing the latter in a trash bin. Mohammed, who has multiple drug-related convictions, also stole Israel’s watch, broke his glasses and proceeded to hit the Jewish man all over his body.

Mohammed told Israel he’d like to slit his throat, according to witnesses.

Johanne Gurfinkiel, the secretary-general of the CICAD watchdog group on anti-Semitism in Switzerland, said the details of the case suggest that Mohammed singled out Israel for attack because he was visibly Jewish. Yet Mohammed’s conviction, handed down last month, does not reference a hate crime as an aggravated element in the assault.

The 20 Minuten report did not say whether Mohammed indicated his motivation for assaulting Israel.

“I do not understand how the anti-Semitic character of this affair was not referenced even though it is clearly visible,” Gurfinkiel said.

In neighboring France and elsewhere in Western Europe, Jewish organizations and watchdog groups have criticized their judiciaries and authorities for what those critics considered mislabeling and ignoring of anti-Semitic hate crimes.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.