You can’t make this up.
Police said Sunday they have broken up a cell of young Israeli neo-Nazis accused of a string of brutal racist and anti-Semitic attacks, videos of which were played on television to a stunned national audience.
The eight suspects, all immigrants from the former Soviet Union in their late teens or early 20s, are seen in the videos kicking victims on the ground to a bloody pulp, hitting a man over the head with an empty beer bottle and proclaiming their allegiance to Adolf Hitler with a Nazi salute.
While Israel has experienced isolated incidents of anti-Semitism in the past, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the arrests were the first time an organized cell has been discovered.
The eight youths, who immigrated to Israel as children, were arrested over the past two months in connection with at least 15 attacks against religious Jews, foreign workers from Asia, drug addicts, the homeless and gays. A ninth member has fled the country, he said.
All eight had loose connections to Jewish heritage. They did not identify themselves as Jews and their families had come to Israel to escape hardships in the former Soviet Union, police said.
Ironically, Israel doesn’t specifically have a hate crimes law, and the case has also drawn calls for new legislation.
The arrests drew condemnations from the Anti-Defamation League, a U.S.-based group that fights anti-Semitism, and Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
“The tragic irony in this is that they would have been chosen for annihilation by the Nazis they strive to emulate,” the ADL said.
Emphasis added–I’ve underlined the things I found most interesting and/or ironic.
One hopes this sort of thing can be chalked up to youthful stupidity, given the ages of the perps, but the underlying problems here are a lot older than they are.