Tommy Hasson, a former soldier in the Israeli army, was reportedly attacked in January 2015 by approximately 10 Jewish Israelis because he was speaking Arabic.
According to Israeli news site Ynet, Israel’s Jerusalem district attorney’s office closed the case on Monday due to lack of evidence.
The website reported that Hasson, who belongs to the minority Druze ethnoreligious group, was allegedly attacked on nationalistic grounds after his suspected attackers overheard him speaking in Arabic, the native language of the Druze people.
The young man was reportedly attacked by 10 Jewish men, all wearing the Jewish orthodox ‘kippa’ headcover, outside the central bus station in Jerusalem. In response to the decision to close the case, Ynet quoted Hasson as saying that he was “really disappointed.”
“They know exactly who attacked me. I’m sure that if the incident happened the other way around — that a Jew was attacked by Arabs –everything would have ended differently,” he said.
The Jerusalem prosecutor’s office reportedly responded by reiterating that Monday’s decision was made “due to lack of evidence and the inability to fully identify the attackers.”
Days after the attack, Israeli police had arrested six suspects — two minors and four adults. “A source in the Jerusalem police said investigators aren’t convinced the attack was a hate crime, but they did describe it as a hate crime in court,” Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported at the time.
Haaretz reported in January that because the incident wasn’t recognized as a terror attack — as has been true for other cases where Jewish extremists assault Arabs, Israel’s National Insurance Institute did not cover the costs of Hasson’s hospitalization bills.
Tag Meir organization, which fights Jewish hate crimes, had also noted that had the situation been reversed, a hate crime targeting a Jew would not have been taken so lightly. Haaretz quoted the group as saying: “Would we dare send an ambulance bill to a Jew attacked by Arabs for nationalist reasons?”
Rights groups and analysts have long accused Israeli authorities of entrenching a “culture of impunity” reserved for Israeli forces and civilians when committing attacks against Palestinians and Arabs inside Israel and the occupied territory.
After a Jewish extremist arrested in the wake of a deadly arson attack that killed three members of the Palestinian Dawabsha family in the occupied West Bank last summer was released from Israeli custody in May, Gilad Grossman, spokesperson for the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, told Ma’an that the dearth of adequate policing by Israeli forces in the West Bank is largely due to lack of ability as well as willingness to address ideologically-motivated crimes against Palestinians.
According to Yesh Din, over 85 percent of investigations into violence committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians are closed without indictments and only 1.9 percent of complaints submitted by Palestinians against Israeli settler attacks result in a conviction.
A recent report by Haaretz also revealed that nearly all investigations opened over the killings of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli police in the past ten months were closed “without the unit investigating and questioning the officers.”