At least two Jewish passengers on the New York City subway were attacked Monday night while riding the Number 2 line in Manhattan – one verbally, and the other, an Israeli woman, physically – by a black woman who self-identified as a Muslim anti-Semite.
Lihi Aharon, a young Israeli woman tells the story in a video that was filmed by a friend in part during and after the incident, which left her with a bloody claw mark trailing down the front of her face from the attack by the perpetrator, who was subsequently arrested by NYPD officers at the next stop.
Lihi Aharon boarded the subway at the Tribeca station in Manhattan after an induction ceremony held at her school. When she entered the car, she said, she immediately noticed a woman spreading her belongings onto several seats of the busy train, but when she asked the woman if she could remove the things so she could sit, the woman refused, claiming they were her seats and no one else could sit there.
A few moments later Aharon saw the woman insulting an elderly, visibly identifiable Jewish man who was also sitting nearby. The young woman said she realized the older man had been at the receiving end of a verbal attack for a while.
“The angry woman began reciting Islamic prayers and yelling horrid things like ‘It’s good they killed Jews in New Jersey, they should have killed all of you,’” she said.
The Jewish man looked scared, but would not respond, Aharon related. Pulling out her phone to record the events, the Israeli woman quickly had the device knocked out of her hands by the attacker, with events quickly escalating: the attacker began grabbing and striking at the Jewish woman’s face.
Aharon fought back and the two continued fighting until they both found each other outside of the train as the doors opened. People started telling Aharon, “Your face is bleeding, your face is bleeding!” The young Israeli remained focused on her opponent, however, and on finding a way to get help.
“No one did anything,” she said. “No words. No actions. Just dozens of people watching as if we were the audience of a TV show.”
Aharon found and pushed the emergency button in the station, and police arrived to the scene almost immediately, she said. The woman was arrested, but continued her incessant insults and obscenities even as police were taking statements from her victim and the witnesses on site.
Aharon’s message: “If you are attacked, fight back.”