New Zealand: 4 Year-Old Attacked in Hate Crime

Boy slapped by grown man, who fled the scene laughing, after being identified as Jewish; Auckland officials vow to stop hate crime.

Tova Dvorin ,

Jewish children (file)
Jewish children (file)
Tova Dvorin

A four year-old Jewish boy was attacked by an anti-Semitic thug in New Zealand - the latest such incident in a wave of anti-Semitism in the country.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the boy, who was walking home from preschool with a friend and his brother, were approached by a man "of Middle Eastern appearance", said to be in his twenties, who slapped him - hard - in front of the boy's mother. He was apparently targeted because he was wearing a yarmulke, or Jewish skullcap.

According to New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman, the man then left in a car with four other men - while laughing. 

The attack evoked a sharp response from race relations commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“Cowards and thugs taking part in hate attacks on Kiwi kids need to know their behaviour has no place in New Zealand,” Devoy said. “This weekend Jewish New Zealanders went public after an attack on a preschooler. Recently Muslim Kiwis also appealed for calm after women and children reported attacks walking home from school."

“When our Kiwi kids are scared to wear a yarmulke or a headscarf because some adult may abuse and attack them, we have failed," she added. "New Zealand has an excellent international human rights record but it is not worth the paper it is written on if New Zealand children are under attack because of their religion or their ethnicity."

This is the latest in a distinct trend of anti-Semitism in New Zealand, according to the Herald, which has risen in the island nation along with the rise of hate crime against Jews worldwide. 

Anti-Semitism has become so problematic that the Race Relations Commission met regarding the issue over the summer. 

"In August the Human Rights Commission met with and issued a statement supporting Jewish Kiwis after leaders reported a spike in anti-Semitism in the wake of the ongoing Gaza conflict," it stated.