An Israeli college student says she was subjected to a “disturbing,” foul-mouthed anti-Semitic tirade and was physically attacked on a New York City subway last week by a passenger who got annoyed after she was asked to move her bags.

“It makes me feel very humiliated and sad that anti-Semitism still exists,” Lihi Aharon, who immigrated to the United States from a village outside of Tel Aviv in 2013, told Fox News.

She added: “It’s disturbing and it’s scary to think that our world is going in that direction. We must stop this.”

The New York City Police Department told Fox News the incident happened on the southbound 2 train near Wall Street in New York City on Thursday night around 11:15.

Aharon said she encountered the woman, who police identified as Zarinah Ali, 38, as she got on the subway on her way home to Brooklyn after an induction ceremony at her school, The Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Aharon said she encountered the woman, who police identified as 38-year-old Zarinah Ali (left), as she got on the subway on her way home to Brooklyn after an induction ceremony at her college.  (Lihi Aharon)


Aharon told Fox News she had asked Ali to move her stuff because she was occupying three seats on a “full” train, but she refused. Aharon said a seat became available across from Ali, so she sat down.

“I happened to sit next to a visibly Orthodox Jewish man,” Aharon told Fox News. “He had a beard and a yarmulke and he turned out also to be an Israeli.”

“She was yelling at him, shouting at him, ‘Allahu Akbar’ [God is most great] and ‘Allah will kill you,’ ‘nasty Jews,’ she was citing clauses from the Koran and ‘when you see a Jew you got to kill him’ and she used a lot of profanity.”

She added, “I was talking Hebrew so she knew I was Jewish.”

Aharon said she immediately took out her phone and some of the comments were captured on video.

In the video, Ali can be heard spouting phrases including, “You f---in nasty a-- Jews” and “You stinking a— Jew.”

“After a few minutes she stood up and smacked my phone, she came over and smacked my phone down, and I told my friend, ‘Record this,’ I’m telling her in Hebrew ,‘Record this’ and my friend started recording and then she smacked my friend’s phone out of her hands twice,” Aharon told Fox News.

“Then she came to me, she ran to me and pointed on my face and then she was grabbing my face, like she was trying to pull my face off and she scratched me so hard and my face started bleeding.”

Aharon said she hit the emergency button on the subway and asked people to call 911.

She told Fox News that after Ali was arrested, she kept screaming similar phrases, "a lot of profanities, really disgusting words.”

Aharon said she needed medical attention for the “very deep cut” on her face, but did not require stitches.


Aharon said after Ali, who police said is from South Orange, N.J., was arrested, the Jewish man who had been sitting next to her told her that she was yelling at him before Aharon got on the train, saying negative comments about Jewish people and the shooting that unfolded at a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J., last week.

Six people were killed in that shooting -- four victims, including a police officer, and the two suspects.

“I feel like lately anti-Semitism is raising its ugly head all over the world, not just New York. Me, as a student, I see it on college campuses all the time,” Aharon told Fox News.

Ali has been charged with assault, according to the NYPD.

When asked if Ali will also be charged with a hate crime, a spokeswoman with the Manhattan District Attorney's Office told Fox News they cannot comment on pending cases.

Aharon’s attorney, Ziporah Reich, told Fox News that she will be accompanying Aharon to her upcoming appointment with the hate crime assistant district attorney.

“We have confidence that once the District Attorney's office gets all the facts and completes its investigation, it will prosecute this crime as the hate crime it is,” said Reich, who is with the Lawfare Project, a Jewish civil rights advocacy group that provides legal assistance to members of the Jewish community who have been targeted because of their faith.

Police told Fox News Ali, who was charged with assault, was intoxicated when she was arrested on Thursday night.   (Lihi Aharon)

Police told Fox News Ali, who has been arrested in New York City six times before, mostly for assault, was intoxicated when she was arrested on Thursday night.


Attorneys for Ali did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.