(JTA) – An organization advocating Jewish-Arab coexistence has raised more than $18,500 in a crowdfunding drive for a Bedouin Israeli who was beaten by off-duty police officers.
The Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality began the drive after Maisam Abu Alqian, 19, a Bedouin student from southern Israel, was beaten outside a Tel Aviv Burger King, where he worked, by plainclothes border policemen. In the incident, which was caught on video, the policemen asked Abu Alqian to show his identification and began beating him when he refused. The policemen have claimed that Abu Alqian violently resisted arrest, a claim he and bystanders dispute.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the fundraising page of the Coexistence Forum had raised nearly double its goal of roughly $10,000 to pay for Abu Alqian’s legal fees. $20,000, according to the page, would cover all of the costs involved and help him pay for his studies.
“I thank all the donors from my heart,” Abu Alqian said in a statement on the fundraising page. “Now I know what help is. I’m waiting to utilize my rights and bring back my honour. I hope what happened to me will lead to a change in the law, so policemen will not be able to beat civilians.”