BERLIN (JTA) — A 19-year-old Syrian citizen of Palestinian background who was seen on video assaulting a kippah-wearing man on a Berlin street has turned himself in to German authorities.
The suspect, who has has been identified in news reports as “Knaan S.,” was accompanied by his lawyer when he came to the State Criminal Police Office on Thursday. His face has been seen across social media and news sites since the victim, Adam Armoush, filmed part of the Tuesday night incident and posted it online. The video was shared widely by the Berlin-based Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Antisemitism.
Armoush, 21, who is not Jewish, told the Deutsche Welle news agency that he had grown up in an Arab-Christian family in Haifa, Israel, and said he put on the kippah as an experiment to see “how bad it is to walk Berlin’s streets as a Jew today.” A friend, 24, with Armoush was accosted verbally by three men.
Armoush said he is studying veterinary medicine in Berlin.
The assailant lashed Armoush with his belt and repeated the Arabic word for Jew, “Yahudi.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the incident “terrible” and reiterated her commitment to fight anti-Semitism in Germany.
“The fight against anti-Semitic violence must be won,” Merkel said at a meeting with leaders of former East German federal states earlier this week. She noted that anti-Semitism is a problem among native Germans as well as those who have come to Germany from Arab countries. More than 1 million refugees of Muslim background have come to the country in the past two years, mostly from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.