(JTA) — A French-Jewish taxi driver was mugged and beaten in what he said was an anti-Semitic crime by perpetrators who targeted him because of his Jewish-sounding name.
The driver, a 33-year-old man from the Paris region whose first name is Israel Hai, said he accepted a ride in Clichy Sous-Bois near Paris early Thursday morning through the Uber application. Drivers and passengers can see one another’s names ahead of the ride.
This is what happened next, Israeli Hai told his wife and parents:
A man in his 20s was waiting for him at the appointed place and asked to sit in the front seat. Then a group of about 10 young men surrounded the car. One of the perpetrators told Israel Hai, “Israel, you k***, you have money, we’re going to need to frisk you.” The men then beat the driver forcefully in the head, causing him to black out.
The perpetrators then pulled him outside of the car by his hair, kicked him and stole his jewelry. Some of them were wearing balaclavas, and some beat him with batons. They then stole his car, glasses, wallet and his shoes. Bruised and barefoot, Israel Hai asked passersby to drive him to a police station, where officers also referred him to medical attention.
He had light injuries and was discharged with a concussion.
His parents filed a complaint on his behalf with police and the National Bureau for Vigilance Against anti-Semitism, or BNVCA.