German police investigate possible antisemitic motive in attack on Israeli tourist in Berlin

VIENNA (AP) — A 19-year-old Israeli tourist said he was attacked by three men in Berlin and police said Sunday they were investigating a possible antisemitic motive.

Berlin police said their state protection office, which is responsible for investigating politically motivated crimes, was looking into the case after the tourist suffered minor injuries to one of his arms and his face Saturday night.

The Israeli tourist told police he was walking on a street in the city’s Kreuzberg district together with an 18-year-old woman while speaking on his phone in Hebrew.

A car pulled up next to them and three men got out and started talking to the Israeli man in German, which he explained to police he did not understand as he does not speak German.

After that, the Israeli man told police that one of the men suddenly began to beat him, knocking him to the ground. The three attackers then continued to beat and kick him, the Israeli man told police. The three attackers then got back into their car and the driver drove off.

The young woman was unharmed.

The Israeli man then checked into a hospital from where he alerted the police.

Antisemitic incidents are common in Germany.

In its recent annual report, the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism, or RIAS, said that it documented 2,480 incidents in the country last year — just under seven incidents per day on average.

They include violent crimes, such as the shooting at a former rabbi’s house next to an old synagogue in the western city of Essen last November. But they also include “everyday situations” at workplaces, homes, on public transportation and at supermarkets, Benjamin Steinitz, the head of RIAS, told reporters in June.

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