Four residents of Tamra, an Israeli-Arab town in the north of Israel, are suspected of kidnapping a 19-year-old gay relative from his home in Tel Aviv and holding him captive for 12 hours.

The young man, known as Angel, had left his hometown of Tamra and moved to Tel Aviv in the hope of leading a more open and safer life.

However, according to a complaint he filed with the local police, his relatives continued to persecute him after his move, repeatedly demanding he return to his hometown and “act like a normal person”.

But on Monday, four of Angel’s relatives reportedly arrived at his home in Tel Aviv and waited for him armed with pepper spray. When he arrived home accompanied by two friends, his relatives sprayed and assaulted them before grabbing Angel and escaping. His friends notified police immediately.

Angel’s relatives reportedly held him for 12 hours during which time they allegedly beat and threatened him. Fortunately, they were caught by police just prior to arrival at their proposed hiding place in Tamra.

Chief Superintendent Miri Peled of Tel Aviv Police said: “This is a serious incident of kidnapping a person over his lifestyle.

“The family found it difficult to accept the man’s lifestyle and wanted to push him away by threatening and beating him.”

Angel has returned to his home in Tel Aviv. He reportedly said: “They [my family] don’t understand the situation – it is unacceptable to them. They want me to get married; but I don’t care about these things. I just want to live my life the way I live it today.”