TEL-Aviv, Israel — A group of gay and straight friends were violently attacked in Tel Aviv on Saturday by mob of 11 people hurling anti-gay slurs, just one week following a similar attack on a transgender woman.
Moshiko Hadad, 29, Or Azulay, 25, suffered injuries, and three other friends were accosted as they left a friends home to Ha’Uman club in south Tel Aviv.
“It was around 2 a.m., Moshiko walked in front of us with two straight friends when my partner put his hand affectionately on my shoulder,” Azulay told LGBTQ Nation. “This was at once spotted by an 11 person strong mob, of which one was a 45 year-old male, two women and the rest male teenagers aged 16-18.”
“They hurled every imaginable anti-gay slur at us, like ‘disgusting,’ ‘you faggots taking it up your asses’ and so on,” said Azulay.
“I just wanted to avoid any trouble and ignore them but they continued and followed us,” he said. “One of the mob approached my partner asking for a cigarette, and then snatched a drink from his hand and threw it at him.”
“At this point I intervened and asked ‘what’s going on?’ to which one of the mob responded: ‘to whom are you speaking?’ and slapped me so hard that I fell to the ground,” recounted Hadad. “Then three of them jumped on top of me and furiously kicked me continuously though I managed to escape, hide behind a bush and called the police.”
Hadad said the attackers punched Azulay in the face and kicked his legs repeatedly.
“While the police reacted quickly, arriving and arresting all the 11 people, officers refused to log the incident as ‘hate crime’, rather registering it as ‘sexual assault’, despite all of us demanding otherwise,” said Hadad.
Hadad was hospitalized overnight for medical treatment and is expected to require on-going physical therapy for his back injuries.
The three main attackers are now under house arrest and likely to be charged with assault, police told Ha’aretz.
Lest weekend, a transgender woman was brutally attacked in Tel-Aviv by a group of border officers.
While Israel legally bans employment and other forms of discrimination on the basis of sexuality and gender identity, it’s hate crime law is rarely enforced when it comes to LGBT people.
According to Pew’s 2013 global survey, Israel lags behind western countries when it comes to accepting its LGBT citizens: only 40 percent of Israelis think the LGBT community should be accepted, versus 60 percent in the USA and 88 percent in Spain.
“I can’t see why this would happen in Tel Aviv in 2014 … why we have to fear walking in the streets,” said Azulay. “There needs to be stronger legislation, homophobic hate crime equals imprisonment.”
“As much as I regret saying it, Tel Aviv, isn’t the perfect gay paradise it’s made to be, there is homophobia and hate,” he said.
“Lawmakers must be act to legislate for LGBT rights and protection rather preoccupy themselves with projecting an inaccurate image,” added Azulay.