On May 22, Maisam Abu Alqian, a 19-year-old Bedouin student from the Negev, was outside the Yuda Supermarket in Tel Aviv where he worked when he was approached by plainclothes police officers. Video footage shows the policemen viciously beating him after he didn’t immediately show them his identification card.
The incident sparked a moment of soul searching in Israel.
In the wake of the attack, NIF grantee Negev Coexistence Forum for Civic Equality has raised over $18,500 for Alqian after quickly exceeding the original goal of $10,000. The money will cover all of Alqian’s legal costs and will also help him pay for his tuition – he was working in Tel Aviv in order to save up money for a psychology degree.
“I thank all the donors from my heart,” he said. “Now I know what help is. I’m waiting to utilize my rights and bring back my honor. I hope what happened to me will lead to a change in the law, so policemen will not be able to beat other civilians.”
Negev Coexistence Forum‘s Michal Rotem said: “[The results of the campaign] really took us all by surprise. We were hesitant at first, but then the numbers just kept going up. After we met Maysam, we learned just how hard he’s worked to save money for his degree. There were many others who were looking for a way to support him, so we came up with the idea of supporting his education.”
NIF continues to support a wide variety of initiatives working to promote a more just and equal Israel. We are proud to stand together with the Negev Coexistence Forum all those fighting racism and discrimination.
Photo Credit: Flickr user baklavabaklava