VIDEO - Eight teenagers from Petach Tikva were arrested recently on suspicion of membership in a local neo-Nazi cell. According to police, the cell is headed by 19-year-old Eli Buanitov, a city resident known as 'Nazi Eli'.
Buanitov is suspected of having led his peers in cruel attacks on innocent by-standers, including minorities such as gays, foreign workers, and homeless people, as well as men wearing kippot.
All but one of the group members are non-Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who arrived in Israel via the law of return. The last member is a temporary resident of the State. As such, the police's youth division, who uncovered the affair, referred to it as complicated and sensitive.
Hitler salute (Photo courtesy of the police)
'Tattoos mean nothing'
The suspects were brought before a court for a remand extension hearing Sunday, and were met outside the courthouse by a group of angry citizens who shouted at them and cursed them. The teens covered their heads with their T-shirts and attempted to conceal their tattoos.
When asked by reporters about the allegations against them, some claimed they loved Jews and denied involvement in the violent incidents they were charged with. "The tattoos mean nothing," another group member said.
The mother of Eli Buanitov, the cell's alleged leader, blamed the authorities for neglecting Russian immigrants and discriminating against them. "My son is a charity case, he has nothing against the State. He finished junior high and stopped attending school after Arabs stabbed him and the police did nothing about it," she said.
She added that her son may be a criminal, but not a Nazi. "He has no connection with the Nazis… our family suffered enough under the Nazis," she stated.
Celebrating Hitler's birthday
A search at the suspects' houses uncovered neo-Nazi related materials such as swastika posters and neo-Nazi movies, and also explosives and an improvised pistol. The teens' cell phones contained pictures of them performing the Nazi salute, or holding up a torn Israeli flag. Two of the suspects also had Nazi symbols tattooed on their bodies.
During the investigation, police revealed chilling email correspondences between the cell members. In one message, Buanitov wrote: "Do you celebrate the Fuhrer's birthday? On his birthday we will read out a few lines, swear allegiance to Hitler and to all the white people. We will guard the white race until the last drop of our blood."
When one of the members was worried that the event might be spotted by a "kike" who may report it to the police, Buanitov replied, "Let him see us, we’ll kill him."
In a separate conversation Buanitov said, "I will never give up, I was a Nazi and will remain a Nazi. I won't rest until we kill them all." In another chat he stated, "I won't have kids. My grandfather is half jid, so that this piece of trash doesn't have ancestors with even the smallest percent of Jewish blood."
An investigation into the group was launched over a year ago, in response to two separate incidents of neo-Nazi graffiti in Petach Tikva.
Two months later, swastikas were painted on a main street in Petach Tikva. At that time, the name 'Rammstein' – a German heavy-metal group accused of fascist sympathies - was painted on the door of a local synagogue.