Man who attacked ambassador: They called me 'Zydek!'

Man suspected of spitting on Polish ambassador says he didn't know victim's identity, and says he was called a Zydek (little Jew)

Nitzan Kedar,

Polish Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski
Polish Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Tel Aviv's Magistrates Court on Wednesday afternoon released Arik Lederman, 65, to house arrest after he spat on Polish Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski Tuesday night.

Lederman, who lives in Herzliya, said he asked the Polish Embassy's guards to allow him to enter the building, but they refused and called him names. He also said that he did not know when he spat that his victim was an ambassador.

Investigations show that the incident occurred on the street near the Polish Embassy, near the parking lot where Lederman usually parks his car. Lederman was walking slowly in the middle of the road with his arms folded behind him when the Ambassador's car approached him and honked at him to move out of the road.

Lederman then approached the car, smacked its roof hard, and when the Ambassador pulled out his phone to photograph the incident, Lederman opened the car door and spat on him.

Lederman did not know that the man in the car was the Polish ambassador and said he had only come to discuss the issue of returning property when one of the guards refused him entry and called him "Zydek" ("little Jew").

"There is no doubt that the act of attacking and spitting on a diplomatic figure in Israel deserves every condemnation and causes citizens of the State to feel embarrassed of that person, whose only sin was that he handled the suspect in a way that the latter did not like. Despite this, we are dealing with the question of arresting a person who has no criminal background and whose arrest would not have occurred were it not for the sensitivity derived from his victim's identity. In this case, and despite the issue I noted above, I do not think this case requires arrest for the sake of interrogation," the judge wrote.

Israel's Foreign Ministry responded, "Police are investigating the incident. The Foreign Ministry expresses complete sympathy for the Polish Ambassador and shock at the incident."

Poland's Foreign Ministry summoned Israel's Ambassador Anna Azari for a meeting, and will give her an official request for Israel to tighten security around the Polish Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted: "I am very worried to hear of a racist attack on @PLinIsrael ambassador @mmagierowski. Poland strongly condemns this xenophobic act of aggression. Violence against diplomats or any other citizens should never be tolerated."

Earlier this week, Poland canceled an Israeli delegation's trip due to concerns that it would focus on Holocaust restitution.




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