Man arrested for trying to burn Israeli flag at Amsterdam kosher restaurant
AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Police in the Dutch capital arrested a man whom they say had smashed the windows of a kosher restaurant and tried to burn the Israeli flag inside.
Officers used pepper spray on the man in the incident, which happened on Friday morning at around 9 a.m. outside HaCarmel restaurant, the Het Parool daily reported. It did not specify on the man’s presumed motives or identity.
According to Hidde van Koningsveld, policy officer at the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, which monitors anti-Semitic incidents in the Netherlands, the attack was the fifth case of vandalism or intimidation in 2 ½ years. He praised police’s quick response.
In January, unidentified perpetrators placed a box resembling a homemade bomb on the restaurant’s doorstep.
In 2017, a 29-year-old man waving a Palestinian flag smashed the windows of HaCarmel with a wooden club, stealing an Israeli flag hanging there. Police officers stood by as he vandalized the place but arrested the suspect, a Syrian asylum seeker, when he came out.
He was convicted of vandalism after 52 days in jail while awaiting his trial but was released with no additional penalty. Dutch Jews criticized the ruling because it did not contain a reference identifying his actions as a hate crime.
Commenting on Friday’s incident, van Koningsveld wrote on Twitter: “If the suspect is back on the streets in no time, and charged only with ‘vandalism,” then Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus will have some explaining to do.”
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