A video posted to social media shows one brave man stopping a brutal attack on a gay couple in Israel after the pair kissed in public, according to Haaretz. A local boatowner can be seen stepping forward to throw one of the attackers into the water and pushing back against another larger assailant.
“This violence was just because of the hate,” Itzik Avneri, the man who came to the couple’s aid, told Haaretz. “There was no talk between them, all they did was look a little bit different, that’s all.”
Police have arrested one 16-year-old youth in the attack, and an investigation is ongoing with future arrests expected.
Avneri owns a tour boat in Jaffa Port, and his business had been busy in recent days with Muslims coming in the evening hours “to have a good time and take a cruise” during the holiday of Eid al-Adha. He described how the victimized Arab Israeli couple sat on the dock next to each other after taking a cruise when “other people saw them and spat at them.”
When Avneri asked a passerby why the couple were subjected to such abuse, the person allegedly replied “because we're Arabs and they're gays, and there won't be gays among the Arabs, it gives Arabs a bad name.” The group hurling the abuse left, but then returned a short time later and began to physically assault the couple. That’s when Avneri jumped in to help, even though he was outnumbered and outsized.
One of the attackers was particularly strong, “so I threw him into the water,” Avneri recalled. He tried to place the couple safely within a gated area, but one of the attackers jumped over the railing to land another punch on one of the victims before running away.
As distressing as the attack was to see for Avneri, perhaps even more concerning was that he was the only person to help.
“What you don't see in the video is 500 people,” Avneri lamented. “Not a single one of them lifted a finger.”