‘Semester From Hell’: How Anti-Semitic Harassment Derailed An Israeli Student’s Soccer Dreams

A Jewish student was bombarded by his college roommate with Nazi taunts and physical abuse. After he complained, he ended up suffering the consequences.

Photo: Courtesy and Vincent Pultorak.

Noam Nedivi moved to Michigan from Israel to play college soccer and study science. As a freshman, he wrote that it felt “unreal” to make it to this level of competitive soccer, given that “high-level adult soccer teams in Israel play in stadiums that are the same size” as the one he was playing in as a scholarship athlete at Lawrence Technological University.

His new life 6,000 miles away in Southfield, Michigan turned dark his sophomore year when he moved in with his teammate, Zavier Chimienti. Nedivi says Chimienti harassed him for four months beginning in September 2023, with anti-Jewish slurs, Nazi salutes, and full-on physical abuse. 

But months after he reported the alleged abuse to both police and school officials, Nedivi is no longer on the soccer team. The school kicked both students off the team as it conducted its investigation, and, though court records show the police charged Chimienti, the investigation concluded that there was no discrimination. 

An outside law firm, however, has concluded that the university mishandled its investigation. With a second external review of the evidence underway, records obtained by The Daily Wire appear to corroborate Nedivi’s allegations, including a teammate’s official witness statement to police, as well as text messages and pictures that document the claims. 

The anti-Semitism burst out of nowhere’

“The anti-Semitism burst out of nowhere a few weeks after I moved in with Zavier Chimienti and hung up my Israeli flag,” Nedivi told The Daily Wire. The apartment also had an Italian flag — symbolizing Chimienti’s ancestry — but it was the Israeli flag that set off months of harassment.

Nedivi said Chimienti would do the Nazi salute in front of the flag, call it ugly, disgusting, and “a Jew flag.” Chimienti would often make references to the Holocaust, remarking for example that “Jews should be put in the oven because they are stinky,” according to Nedivi.

Nedivi recalled one incident where he says Chimienti ran into their room to fart before exclaiming, “I gassed the Jew,” and leaving the room.

Nedivi, the son of an American mother and Israeli father, told The Daily Wire that it took “immense strength, mentally and physically,” not to respond, and instead to focus on his “goals of getting good grades and proving my ability on the field.” He said he feared causing problems in the close-knit team by reporting Chimienti.

This was all before October 7, 2023, when Hamas brutally massacred more than 1,000 Israeli citizens, putting global anti-Semitism under the microscope. 

“People I know were murdered in cold blood on October 7, others were killed in battles in Gaza, all my friends from home, including my twin sister, were in the IDF, and all of Israel was living under rocket fire,” Nedivi said. He hoped Chimienti would see the pain he was going through and ease up on him. 

The opposite happened.

Nedivi said he told Chimienti about the accusations that Hamas put Israeli babies in an oven, only to have Chimienti, a few days later, take a Star of David piñata that belonged to Nedivi and put it in the apartment’s oven, stating, “That’s what I hope Hamas does to every Jewish baby.”

Chimienti did this act twice, according to a police report filed by Nedivi reviewed by The Daily Wire. Nedivi also says that Chimienti would frequently mess with the piñata and provided The Daily Wire with a photo of Chimienti wearing it on his head.

The abuse was also physical. Nedivi said that in more than 10 instances, Chimienti came up behind him while he was sitting at his desk doing homework and put him into a sleeper hold.

“Usually he would harass me and give me a whole bunch of anti-Semitism and Nazism and then without any warning he would put me in a sleeper,” Nedivi said. “I called for my other roommate when he was there a few times to tell him to tell Zavier to stop, which he would do. I couldn’t move my body, my arms or legs because I had no control due to the lack of oxygen.”

The same roommate, who lived in the apartment but in a different room, said he witnessed Chimienti harass and assault Nedivi nearly every day, according to a police witness statement filed in March.

“From the beginning of September 2023 to December 2023, I witnessed one of my three roommates, Zavier Chimienti, physically and emotionally harass Noam Nedivi,” the roommate, who is also on the soccer team, wrote in the police statement. “Nearly every day from the given time range, Zavier would often put his hands on Noam, including poking, pushing, grabbing and choking.”

Police report filed by Noam Nedivi’s roommate, accusing Zavier Chimienti of physical and verbal abuse.

The roommate’s report cites Chimienti’s Nazi salute and says Chimienti called Nedivi a “dirty Jew” on “more than one occasion.” He also mentioned sexual comments Chimienti made about Nedivi’s sister in Israel.

In Nedivi’s police report, he recounted that he was uncomfortable having his twin sister visit him from Israel because Chimienti made comments about wanting to “sexually abuse” her. He told The Daily Wire that his family called off a planned visit from his sister because of fears of what would happen if she stayed in the apartment.

“Once my twin sister was released from doing her reserve duty in the Israeli Army during the war, she was going to visit me at school,” Nedivi told The Daily Wire. “My former roommates and I agreed that she could stay with us in our apartment, but because of the sexual harassment threats of rape and physical violence about her, I told her not to come.”

A Thanksgiving from Hell

Despite the harassment, Nedivi said he hoped the relationship with Chimienti would improve. The two were friends prior to being roommates, with Nedivi spending Thanksgiving with Chimienti’s family in 2022. But when the holiday came around in 2023, Nedivi said he was pressured to spend it with the Chimienti family again.

“I was pressured to go by Zavier Chimienti and his father Fabio, who came to the school to pick me up even though I told them I wasn’t able to come because of a doctor’s appointment,” Nedivi said.

Thinking that Chimienti wouldn’t be offensive in front of his parents, Nedivi gave in and left campus with the family, who he says ended up joining in on the harassment.

“Fabio called his wife when I was at their house for Thanksgiving and told her that the family is hosting ‘the Jew,’” he recalled.

While driving to a Black Friday sale, Nedivi said Fabio pushed anti-Semitic tropes about Jews being cheap, and referred to him as “Jew” instead of by his name. 

“He used the name ‘Jew’ to refer to me and I told him at one point that I don’t like him calling me ‘Jew’ and being referred to as ‘Jew,’” Nedivi said. “I said how I thought it was disrespectful but he went on and said ‘that is how I will refer to you, you Jew.’”

Nedivi also claims Fabio encouraged him to purchase a striped shirt in the store because it “reminds him of a Jewish prisoner of the Nazis.”

In one instance during the holiday, Nedivi said Fabio Chimienti continually made rude remarks inside the house, provoking his wife in a different room to shout that she was coming to stop him. When Michelle Chimienti started walking into the room, Nedivi took out his phone and began filming. In the video shared with The Daily Wire, Fabio Chimienti pretends to be a Palestinian with a “Jew attacking” him as his wife approaches.

“Ahh! I’m a Palestinian and she’s a Jew attacking me,” Fabio Chimienti says as his wife pretends to punch him.

“Fabio made a lot of Jewish and Nazi comments, including the Nazi salute many times, and he said Heil Hitler many times,” Nedivi recalled. “He told me that when I go back to Israel, he wants me to bring him 100 foreskins of murdered Palestinians by the IDF.”

In a report conducted by the school, Chimienti said he didn’t want Nedivi to spend the holiday alone and picked him up and took him shopping. 

Chimienti’s mother disputed the claims about the Nazi salutes and the piñata, according to the investigation conducted by the school, accusing Nedivi of placing “the blame on Zavier for things that other people have said and done.”

At the end of the semester, on the morning Nedivi was set to fly back to Israel, he said Chimienti made more Nazi salutes as he put his finger to his lips to “symbolize Hitler’s mustache.”

Home in Israel

After Nedivi returned home, he avoided communication with Chimienti, until he saw that Chimienti had taken the Star of David piñata to his family home and posted a photo to Snapchat of his brother pretending to be hung by the decoration.

“Nedivi took it as a threat towards his life calling for him to be hanged,” a police report states. “He asked why he took it. He said somebody needs to keep it safe.”

Fears of causing conflict within the league-winning team and having his complaints dismissed in a new culture initially deterred him from reporting Chimienti. He changed his mind during the winter break, and decided to report Chimienti and make arrangements with his other roommates and the school to rectify the housing situation.

Text messages provided to The Daily Wire between the two other roommates and Nedivi at the end of December reveal the seriousness of the situation. The Daily Wire has decided to withhold the names of the roommates. 

“[C]an you switch rooms with me and be with Zavier I can’t deal with him anymore,” Nedivi texted one of the roommates, who replied that he’d talk to Chimienti.

Text messages between Noam Nedivi and one of his former roommates.

“I need to be in a place I am not looked [at] just as where I came from or [by] my religion [as] my ancestors had to go through it and so am I but I have at least the option to move away,” Nedivi said, adding that he told Chimienti what he was doing was wrong many times. 

“I completely understand, I did see him do those things and you always told him to stop and he didn’t usually so I understand you,” the roommate replied.

The other roommate told Nedivi he didn’t blame him for wanting to leave either, a text message reveals.

“I would be upset in your position too,” the roommate wrote. “And [I know] that Star of David sh** sucks, I’m sure it’s annoying.”

In the school’s report, Chimienti claims he did not know Nedivi was upset with him until December 29, 2023. 

After Nedivi blocked all forms of communication with Chimienti during the break, Chimienti asked the roommate to pass a message to Nedivi.

“Tell him I want to apologize, that I understand if he wants to leave, that the last thing I want is for him to leave, and I shouldn’t have put our friendship at risk,” the message reads. “I miss him.”

Nedivi said he feels his roommates were often reluctant to help, and told him he needed to figure out how to navigate the abuse himself. Nedivi said he lost 15 pounds from the stress.

“I did not realize what was happening to me physiologically during those four months of attacks,” he said. “The things he had said kept running through my thoughts and I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink, and that created even worse problems.”

The first report

In January, just a few days after he moved out, Nedivi reported Chimienti to his coach, the Dean of Students Jolann Baldwin, and campus police. Both Chimienti and Nedivi were immediately suspended and banned from team events, while Baldwin launched an investigation that included interviews of the roommates and other witnesses. 

Nedivi also filed a police report with the Southfield Police Department on January 15, 2024, and a warrant was issued for Chimienti’s arrest. Chimienti was arraigned on March 13, and pleaded not guilty, according to court records. He is being charged with ethnic intimidation and domestic violence and is scheduled for a probable cause hearing on June 3.

Six weeks after her investigation began, Baldwin delivered her report, finding Zavier “not responsible for discriminatory conduct against Noam Nedivi.” 

She implemented a “no contact directive” for the duration of their studies and concluded that it is “not possible for Noam or Zavier to continue with the men’s soccer team” but permitted both of them to keep their scholarships.

“The investigator believes that there is room for education regarding respecting other people’s physical space and comfort,” the report read. “To that end, Zavier will be required to complete an educational module.”

The report recounts the dean’s meeting with various witnesses, including Chimienti’s parents,  who said Nedivi “twisted everything” and changed “significantly after the October 7 attack on Israel.”

The report cited the Thanksgiving visits, and meals and gifts by Chimienti’s family as evidence of “a pattern of caring, familial, behavior.”

“Based on the preponderance of evidence, it is determined that Zavier Chimienti did not engage in discriminatory conduct towards Noam Nedivi on the basis of religion or ethnicity,” the report stated.

Nedivi rejected Baldwin’s finding and filed an appeal, which launched an investigation into Baldwin’s report by an outside law firm hired by the school.

Nedivi said he specifically took issue with the report claiming that though another roommate “was able to corroborate one incident where Zavier put Noam in a headlock,” the roommate said that “they did not believe it was not done with malice and the incident was described as joking/around horse play.”

That other roommate — who also corroborated the headlocks to police — disputed the representation of his testimony in the report, according to text messages viewed by The Daily Wire. 

“Yeah that’s not what I said,” the roommate wrote. “I told her exactly what I told the police.”

“You can tell them to look at my police report because I didn’t say that you guys were just ‘rough housing,’” the student said in another text. “In my report I said exactly what I saw and heard.”

The report quoted the other roommate as stating he did “not witness anything of concern” and “did not have anything to share with me.”

The second report

TNG Consulting, LLC, returned their report on April 4, and found a “clear error in the Dean of Students’ decision to dismiss Complainant’s allegations as unfounded.” 

Nedivi’s appeal was granted and a new investigation is ongoing by the same law firm. 

The university’s provost Richard Heist declined to discuss specifics on the situation citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, but stated that the school is “committed to the safety of each of our students and their access to fair consideration and due process through the university’s established policies and procedures.”

“All student complaints, especially those related to student safety, are a priority and are investigated thoroughly with appropriate action when determined appropriate,” he added. 

Even if the investigation finds Nedivi innocent and allows him back on the team, he fears that his spot has already been taken, citing unclear conversations with his coach. 

Noam Nedivi says he started in many of Lawrence Technological University’s soccer games during his time on the team. (Photo: Vincent Pultorak)

Chimienti was charged with ethnic intimidation and domestic violence in February and is set to have a hearing in June. 

In response to a series of questions, Chimienti’s attorney said the two were “best friends” who both were at fault for any conflict.

“We will be looking forward to your continued (to a conclusion) interest in the issues between two, actually, best friends, and dorm college roommates Noam and Zavier,” wrote attorney John McWilliams. “Noam, American/Israeli, and Zavier, American/Italian, both of whom, and their friends, gave it out and got it from the other and others, equally […] Neither roommate nor, anyone else, were malicious or threatening of or to each other or anyone else.”

The attorney also suggested that the source of Chimienti’s behavior was Nedivi’s cleanliness. 

“Yes, Noam was not a self starting, equal, roommate, as far as ordinary chores of cleanliness (Dishes, trash organization,etc) AND Zavier would nag Noam about doing his share,” McWilliams wrote. “And Yes, Noam, was neglectful of his personal hygiene, laundry, and he was reminded that he didn’t smell heathy [sic] from time to time.”

The attorney also suggested that Nedivi was being led by an “opportunistic” adviser. McWilliams did not respond to requests for clarification on his points, or to substantive questions about the case. 

Nedivi said he will continue to advocate for himself during the ongoing second investigation and hopes that he can take on a heavier course load to graduate early, and return to Israel.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Semester From Hell’: How Anti-Semitic Harassment Derailed An Israeli Student’s Soccer Dreams