8 Israeli neo-Nazis sentenced to jail
Fascism is all over. Even in Israel a year ago, this Neo Nazi group shocked the world. They have now been sentenced for short time in jail for promoting racism and violence.
The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced eight defendants to jail terms ranging from one to seven years on Sunday, in the neo-Nazi gang case which shocked the country just over a year ago.
A member of the alleged neo-Nazi ring makes a 'Heil Hitler' salute. All eight gang members admitted to the charges, and were convicted in plea bargains for a series of racism- and violence-related offenses. The group was arrested in September 2007, after police followed leads on a gang acting against foreign workers and religious Israelis. The group was also accused of defacing synagogues in Petah Tikva, and of planning an attack with explosives on Tel Aviv Punk groups. When they were arrested - three of the members still minors - photographs of the members giving the Nazi salute and wearing National Socialist insignia were found in their possession. Judge Tzvi Gurfinkel wrote in his verdict that "this is a serious, shocking and horrifying phenomenon which reminds one of the dark events of Kristallnacht. The fact that these are Jews who came from the Former Soviet Union and socialized with elements who believe in [Nazi] racial theories is terrible, and one cannot entertain their excuse that they socialized with these elements in a bid to win their favor." The group's leader, Arik Boniatov, known by the nickname 'Eli the Nazi,' was given seven years in prison. He was charged with attempting to commemorate Adolf Hitler's anniversary in a ceremony during which he made the gang members swear allegiance to "defending the White Race" In response, his lawyer Shimshon Weiss said that the court punished him harshly, not taking into account that he was "a product of Israeli society and not a neo-Nazi. He has expressed remorse and is ashamed of his actions." The lawyer added that he would consider filing an appeal with the High Court of Justice. Judge Gurfinkel wrote in his verdict that despite circumstances which "helped avoid too harsh a punishment," there was still "no possibility to punish them lightly" as "no Israeli citizen can come to terms with the terrible phenomenon that has been revealed." Two lawyers representing a minor defendant said they would appeal to the High Court of Justice. "We're sure the High Court will prefer rehabilitative treatment to a jail term, as all social services and therapists have recommended."
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