The elderly Jewish protester killed in California during a skirmish with Pro-Palestine supporters on Sunday has been identified as a ‘man committed to peace and committed to Israel‘ as cops weigh filing hate crime charges in the attack.
Paul Kessler, 69, was caught up in rival rallies in Thousand Oaks on Sunday – one in support of Israel and the other backing the Palestinian cause.
Kessler is understood to have been involved in a tussle with another person where he fell backward and hit his head on the ground.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles claimed Kessler was ‘struck in the head by a megaphone wielded by a pro-Palestinian protestor.’
Harrowing social media footage showed him lying on the ground with a pool of blood under him as medics rushed to help him.
Photos from before the incident showed Kessler waving an Israeli flag alongside his wife, Cheryl.
Rabbi Michael Barclay, who leads Temple Ner Simcha told the Los Angeles Times that the couple attended High Holiday services at his synagogue but hadn’t worshipped recently.
Barclay said that he regularly exchanged emails with Kessler but that he was not close with the family.
He described the slain activist as a ‘man committed to peace and committed to Israel.’
Kessler was taken to the hospital on Sunday but died of his injuries the following day.
Authorities have not ruled out filing hate crime charges.
Kessler’s wife on Monday was said to be ‘in a state of total shock.’
Witnesses told ABC Los Angeles that both sides had been antagonizing each other when it turned physical.
‘They were both on an even ground, and they were yelling at each other, and then the man brought his megaphone up and hit Paul, and Paul went down,’ one unnamed witness said.