Police: Stabbing of Arab workers not nationalistically motivated

Arab construction workers stabbed during brawl with Israeli Jews, which left 7 injured. Police say incident not nationalistically motivated.

David Rosenberg ,

Knife (stock image)
Knife (stock image)
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Two Israeli Arabs employed as construction workers were stabbed and five Israeli Jews injured during a brawl in the Israeli city of Binyamina on Sunday.

The two stabbing victims claimed that they were attacked because of their nationality, a claim police denied.

The incident occurred, authorities say, when a work dispute between contract workers employed in Binyamina, north of Hadera, turned violent. The brawl involved workers hired by a local school, and construction workers renovating infrastructure in the area.

As the disagreement escalated into a physical confrontation, knives were drawn, and two of the workers, both Arabs from the city of Tayibe, were wounded.

The two Arab workers later filed a complaint with police, claiming that they had been the victims of a nationalistically-motivated assault.

But police rejected the claim following a preliminary investigation, saying that the incident appeared to be not a nationalistically-motivated attack, but a brawl between the two sides following a work-related argument.

Emergency first responders called to the scene of the brawl evacuated a total of seven people to the hospital. Along with the two residents of Tayibe who suffered stab wounds, five Jewish workers were treated and evacuated for other injuries sustained during the brawl.

Despite the police determination, however, the stabbing victims insisted they had been singled out as Arabs.

“This wasn’t a fight,” the one of the Tayibe residents claimed, according to Yediot Ahronot. “After one man had asked to enter the premises where we were working, we asked him to move his car, but he refused.”

“Then all of the sudden they started screaming ‘Arab terrorists’. A woman who was with them called police and said that we had tried to rape her. A few minutes later, more men came and one of them stabbed me.”

The Tayibe resident claimed that he and his friend “didn’t hurt anyone”, despite the fact that five Jewish workers had been evacuated to the hospital following the incident.

Last week, two Israeli Jews were arrested after allegedly assaulting three Israeli Arabs at a beach in northern Israel, in an incident police say was nationalistically motivated.