The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

Gaza man jailed for assaulting Jew wearing kippah in Switzerland

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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. 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 antisemitism 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 antisemitic character of this affair was not referenced even though it is clearly visible,” Gurfinkiel said.