(JTA) – A 65-year-old Israeli man has been indicted for banging on the roof of the car of Polish Ambassador Marek Magierowski and spitting at him.
According to the indictment filed Thursday by police with the Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court, Arik Lederman of Herzliya stood in the middle of a Tel Aviv road to block the car from moving, slammed his fist on the roof of the car and then opened the door and spit on Magierowski twice, the Kan national broadcaster reported.
Lederman claimed that he did not know that the ambassador was in the car, only that it bore Polish diplomatic plates. He said the car honked at him for blocking the road, which angered him.
Lederman said Wednesday in an apology to the Polish ambassador that his family suffered during the Holocaust and that he was at the embassy to inquire about recovering property abandoned during the Holocaust, Ynet reported. He said the embassy guard called him a Jewish slur in Polish – “zydek,” meaning “yid” or “little Jew” – and was upset when he came across the car with Polish diplomat plates on the street.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Magierowski called claims that the guard slurred Lederman “bizarre,” adding that he is “a loyal, hard-working, well-trained and delicate person.
The incident comes in the days after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared that his government will not pay compensation for property lost during World War II since, he said, Poles were the war’s major victim.
An unnamed source at the Polish Foreign Ministry told Kan that the Poles expect answers from Israel regarding the security of its diplomats. “We will follow this, and if we are not satisfied, there may be additional summonses for meetings with Israeli diplomats,” the source said. Poland’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Israeli ambassador to Warsaw, Anna Azari, in the wake of the incident to answer questions about the altercation.