Teens arrested for harassing Arab woman, latest in string of incidents


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Three male teenagers from northern Israel were arrested for harassing an Arab woman — the fourth such incident in recent days.

The teens from Nazareth Illit on Saturday night confessed to spitting on the 60-year-old woman and telling her to leave "the Jewish neighborhood," and apologized. In exchange for their release, the teens agreed to participate in community service by speaking to other teens about racism and tolerance.

Two other teens turned themselves in to Jerusalem Police on Saturday night following their confessions of involvement in threatening an Arab woman and a Jewish woman attending the shiva of their boss in the Kiryat Moshe section of Jerusalem.

The teens allegedly spit and shouted racial slurs at the women, who teach together at a school in Ramat Hasharon, in the center of Israel, and threw things at them and their car, smashing the back window. They also slashed the car’s tires.

A third teen captured last week for involvement in the incident is under house arrest.

Last week, a group of teenage Jewish girls allegedly attacked an Arab woman at a light rail stop in Kiryat Moshe. One was arrested and two others turned themselves in, claiming that the Arab woman attacked them first.

The previous week, a group of young yeshiva students allegedly attacked an Israeli-Arab street cleaner in Tel Aviv.

Israeli politicians and law enforcement officials, along with the media, have condemned the acts.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, applauded the condemnations but said "more than words alone are needed to end these racially motivated incidents."

In a statement, Foxman said that "Israeli authorities should also intensify educational initiatives directed at Israeli youth and society at large, which promote the values of respect and understanding within Israel’s diverse society."

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