Israeli prosecutors pressed charges Tuesday against four 17-year-old Jews suspected of a "racially motivated" assault on two Arab men in the coastal city of Netanya, the justice ministry said.
A ministry statement said the four had been drinking alcohol at a beach on February 17, when they saw the two Arabs heading towards a lift.
They allegedly began following them and insulted the Prophet Mohammed before throwing stones and empty bottles at the pair who fled to the lift, only to be trapped inside it where the attack continued.
One Arab was pulled from the lift and branded a “terrorist”. He was beaten and choked until he lost his consciousness and was eventually taken to hospital.
The four were being charged with “racially motivated aggravated assault”, the ministry’s statement read.
Tensions between Jews and Arabs have risen during a five-month wave of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories which has cost the lives of 178 Palestinians, 28 Israelis, an American, a Sudanese and an Eritrean, according to an AFP toll.
Most of the Palestinians who died in the violence were killed by Israeli forces while carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, the Israeli authorities say.
A number of Israelis have carried out revenge attacks on Arabs.