Jewish Paul Kessler, who died during a clash in California with pro-Palestinian protesters, was hit in the mouth with a megaphone: rabbi

The Jewish man who died Monday following an alleged clash between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters in California was hit in the mouth with a megaphone before his fatal fall, said a rabbi who had spoken to direct witnesses to the incident.

“The man hit Paul in the face with a megaphone. That 100% happened.

“It hit him right in the mouth and he fell,” Rabbi Mark Blazer told the Post on Tuesday, detailing the moments before Paul Kessler, 69, fell backwards and suffered serious head injuries Sunday afternoon.

Kessler was holding an Israeli flag and standing with other protesters when two pro-Palestinian supporters crossed the street in Thousands Oaks and “confronted” the pro-Israel faction, Blazer claimed.

“Paul was still conscious when he fell. At first he thought that he had lost some teeth because they hit him very hard in the mouth, but once he fell, he hit his head on the pavement,” the rabbi added about the alleged confrontation.

“The fall caused [Paul] die,” after being hospitalized, he said.

Paul Kessler died Monday from injuries suffered when he fell backwards onto the sidewalk during a protest. ABC7

Kessler, who had lived in Thousand Oaks with his wife, Cheryl, for about 20 years, was transported to the hospital, where he died early Monday from skull fractures, brain swelling and bruising, officials said at a news conference Tuesday.

He also had injuries to his face that “could be consistent with a blow,” but the circumstances are still unclear and are being reviewed, said chief medical examiner Dr. Christopher Young.

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The suspect, who has not been publicly identified, was cooperative at the scene and was part of the group that called 911 for Kessler after he fell, Ventura County Sheriff Jim Fryhoff said.

The manner of death was considered homicide.

A family friend described Kessler as a “proud supporter of Israel.” via @buttonslives/Twitter

Although authorities have not ruled out the possibility that Kessler’s death was the result of a hate crime, no one has been arrested or charged so far, Fryhoff added.

Blazer told The Post he was not sure what words, if any, were exchanged between Kessler and the suspect before the alleged altercation.

“There was no feeling that the situation was going to reach what it did. “Paul appeared along with other members of the Jewish community simply to show solidarity with Israel,” the rabbi insisted.

“He did not go [to the protest] expecting to get into any type of physical confrontation. He is a man who is 69 years old and should be entering a stage in his life where he is enjoying retirement and living life on his own terms, but instead he was murdered.

Bystanders helped Paul Kessler moments before the ambulance arrived.RMG NEWS

“And what happened to him is happening to members of the Jewish community who show solidarity with Israel.”

Residents of Kessler’s Thousand Oaks neighborhood were equally horrified by what happened.

“They are great neighbors and we are all devastated for the family,” said one neighbor who did not want his name used.

Another neighbor told The Post how Kessler, a retired pilot, always waved when doing chores and never backed down from a fight.

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Kessler was taken to the hospital, where he died several hours later. ABC7

The house where Kessler lived with his wife is just yards from a school, and parents sometimes crowded the typically quiet block.

Once, the neighbor said he saw Kessler yelling at a father who parked in his driveway.

“It was a big argument and some harsh words were exchanged,” another neighbor said.

“That definitely left a big impression on us because he’s normally very calm and friendly, but he definitely speaks his mind and doesn’t back down from a fight.”

Before the ambulance arrived Sunday afternoon, Kessler lay on the ground as several bystanders – including a woman in a “Free Palestine” jacket – talked to him and tried to make him feel more comfortable as they waited for help, videos and photographs of the aftermath were shown.

The incident has shaken the Southern California community.

Videos from Jewish Life Television that were shared with The Post show the aftermath of Kessler falling to the ground, with him holding the back of his head as blood begins to flow from the wound.

As Kessler was transferred to an ambulance, a pro-Palestine protester with a megaphone continued yelling “Stop killing our children now.”

Kessler remained conscious for a few hours after the incident before his condition deteriorated, authorities said at Tuesday’s news conference.

The door frame of Kessler’s home is adorned with a mezuzah, a small box inscribed with specific verses from the Torah that observant Jews traditionally place on the right side of their doors.

Family friend Justin Cohen told The Post on Monday night that the 69-year-old was proud of his Jewish heritage.

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“He was not a closet Zionist; he wore it like a badge of honor,” Cohen said.

“He was a proud Jew and a proud supporter of Israel.”

Rabbi Michael Barclay of Temple Ner Simcha in Westlake, who knew Kessler, told The Post that the same pro-Palestine people have been gathering on the same corner every Sunday for the past three weeks and had warned his congregation about interact with them.

“They have people acting like idiots, interrupting people, making real threats and saying bad words,” Barclay said.

“These people who are demonstrating have no idea what they are talking about and are simply being used. These people don’t even know what they are singing for…that is why I have suggested to the congregation that they are not going to change their minds. Don’t even be in the area because they are looking for fights.”

Kessler’s death comes amid a worrying rise in anti-Semitic violence in the four weeks since Hamas invaded southern Israel, sparking an all-out war in the tense region.

Over the weekend, a knife-wielding woman was arrested in New York after she was allegedly caught tearing down pamphlets from kidnapped Israelis and even pepper spraying a Jewish security volunteer.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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