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Machane (Mahane) Yehuda market before Shabbat begins. Photo: Anita Widaman, Metro Voice

After years of abuse from Arabs, 93-year-old Jewish shop owner gets help

Help has finally arrived for Abraham Maximov, 93, owns a small shop in Jerusalem’s main market, Mahane Yehuda, where he sharpens knives. For at least a year, he has suffered physical and verbal abuse from young Arabs. This week, after being shamed into action, Israeli police arrested a fourth suspect.

The motives of the Arabs, residents of eastern Jerusalem, are mixed, according to reports. They have been described as racially motivated, efforts at extortion, and as a means to drive the elderly store owner away – the Arab owners of the fruit stand next to his small shop want to take over his space, reports say.

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What led to the Arabs’ arrest is that they were apparently proud of the abuse they delivered. They filmed it and posted it to the Chinese-owned social media app Tik Tok. The videos show the suspects cursing Maximov, throwing vegetables at him, splashing water in his face, and putting a plastic box over his head.

The website Kikar HaShabat reports that one of Maximov’s grandchildren posted to Facebook: “A year ago, my grandfather complained to the police that they threw a bottle of acid but nothing happened. It only made things worse.

“The other day I received videos of my grandfather appearing in the Tik Tok application, where he is being humiliated and attacked by an Arab in the Mahane Yehuda market.”

“He and elderly and helpless people are being ignored every day. Where did we get to the point that such a thing happens in the heart of our market… in the heart of Jerusalem? Just sad and angry!”

Israel’s Channel 13 reports that Maximov’s daughter said, “He is very scared, hardly talking. He sits and cries. He is 40 years in the market, a dedicated worker. We couldn’t imagine it would come to such a situation.”

On Monday, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon lit a Hanukkah candle at the Mahane Yehuda market with Maximov.

“I came to the market to strengthen Avraham and the merchants. His is a sad case that must not happen in Jerusalem. I will do everything possible to prevent more such cases,” Leon said.

–Metro Voice and wire services