SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – AÂ Melbourne man wearing an IDFÂ T-shirt said two Arabic-speaking men assaulted him on the street.
Zachary Gomo told JTA he was walking to a shop aroundÂ 10 P.M.Â in a Jewish neighborhood on ThursdayÂ nightÂ wearing a T-shirt from his service in the Israel Defense Forces when he was set upon by two young men.
“I noticed them when it was too late. They jumped on me, started punching, screaming ‘kalb Yehud!’ (Jewish dog), ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is great) and something about Gaza in Arabic,” Gomo said.
“One of them tried to pull me to the ground, I started fighting and punching back,” he recalled. “I grabbed one of them by the throat and screamed at them, cursing in Arabic as well. This shocked them, they ran off.”
Gomo said he was covered in cuts and had a swollen face. The Community Security Group accompanied him to a police station to make a statement, he said.
“It appears from the words used by the attackers that he was targeted only because he was clearly identifiable as a Jew,” Nina Bassat, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, said in a statement.
“This was an act of cowardice and aggression that has no place in our society,” she said. “From past experience it is clear that it is no coincidence that this attack occurred as hostilities between Israel and Gaza are escalating.”
Community members, she added, “should be free to walk on the streets of Melbourne and to live a peaceful life in what has until now been a model of multicultural harmonious co-existence.”