ANTWERP —A Muslim driver was arrested Saturday in Antwerp, Belgium, on suspicion of trying to run over two ultra-orthodox Jews, a father his and son, dressed in Hasidic garb, in the center of the city, home of a large Jewish community.
The two men were dressed in Hasidic garb as they were walking to a nearby synagogue. The incident is considered as anti-Jewish since the two persons were clearly recognizable as Jewish. However, an Antwerp police officer, Wouter Bruyns, told VTM Flemish tv channel that ”currently the incident doesn’t indicate an anti-Semitic act.”
The video from security cameras shows how the driver in a black car veers sharply from his path in the direction of the two Hasidic Jews who manage to escape. The the father tried to chase after the car and confront the driver, but to no avail.
Shortly after the incident, the driver was arrested by local police on suspicion of attempted murder. He was due to be presented to a judge on Sunday for attempted manslaughter.
According to Belgian media, the driver was a Belgian national and a Muslim. Other press reports said that the driver was drunk.
According the Jewish magazine Joods Actueel, the presence of soldiers at the corner of the street was a reason for the perpetrator to not hit the pedestrians at the last minute. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, head of the European Jewish Association (EJA), praised the Belgian security forces for their swift intervention and called upon the authorities to assure a stable presence in the country’s sensitive zones.