Police on Tuesday arrested Arik Lederman, 65, from Herzliya, after he had spat at the Polish ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski. According to police, the spitting took place on Soutine Street, Tel Aviv, while the ambassador was in his car at the entrance to the Polish embassy.
Judge Alaa Masarwa of the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court released Lederman to house arrest Wednesday morning and issued a restraining order barring him from the embassy compound.
Lederman’s lawyers argued in court that their client had come to the embassy to find out about property restitution, when one of the guards said he was not allowed inside and called him “Żyd” (Jew in Polish).
The judge said the suspect’s overnight arrest will not count against a future sentence, and added that “the moral condemnation of the act does not belong in the present procedural stage.”
I am very worried to hear of a racist attack on @PLinIsrael ambassador @mmagierowski. Poland strongly condemns this xenophobic act of aggression. Violence against diplomats or any other citizens should never be tolerated.
— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) May 15, 2019
Polish Prime Minister Mathias Muravitsky on Wednesday condemned the attack on his country’s ambassador to Israel, tweeting: I am very worried to hear of a racist attack on Ambassador Magierowski. Poland strongly condemns this xenophobic act of aggression. Violence against diplomats or any other citizens should never be tolerated.
According to the defense attorneys, their client was forced to walk in the street because the sidewalk outside the embassy was blocked. They also argued that he “did not spit at the ambassador, he spat on the ground.”
A police representative told the court that “the suspect was walking in the middle of the street with his hands folded behind his back, very slowly, especially when an embassy car came up behind him and honked for him to get off the road – he did not like it.”
The police representative continued: “After the driver told him to move off the road, the suspect approached the vehicle and pounded forcefully on the rooftop. When the ambassador opened his door and took out his phone to document the suspect, the latter spit in the ambassador’s face, and that’s what happened.”
The police representative noted that the suspect did not necessarily know the man at whom he was spitting was the Polish ambassador in Israel, even though he knew it was an embassy vehicle.
Israel’s ambassador to Warsaw, Anna Azari, was summoned on Wednesday for a clarification at the Polish Foreign Ministry. Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emanuel Nachshon issued a hurried statement declaring: “Israel is shocked by the attack and stands behind the Polish ambassador.”
Better than to stand in front of him…