The last thing you would expect to find in the Jewish state would be homegrown neo-Nazis, but an Israeli court on Sunday jailed eight teenagers for beating up ultra-Orthodox Jews, gays and the elderly, while shouting, "Heil Hitler!"
The same gang of skinheads had painted swastikas and naked women on the doors of a Haifa synagogue. They had also attacked a drug addict in Tel Aviv and forced him to grovel and beg for forgiveness for being a Jew. They videotaped the spectacle and posted it on their website, spliced with clips of Adolf Hitler. And they weren't particularly secretive about their identities, having strutted around the beaches of Tel Aviv showing off their Nazi tattoos.
And yet all of these neo-Nazis are Israelis — one of them is a Jewish teenager whose grandparents survived the Holocaust.
The alienated young men channeled their anger by linking up with neo-Nazi groups back in Russia. A ringleader, Eli "the Nazi" Buatinov, told his gang from the working-class neighborhoods of Petah Tikvah, a bustling town near Tel Aviv, that he would never have children because he didn't want to sire a "piece of trash with even the smallest percentage of Jewish blood." Buatinov was given seven years in jail, the harshest sentence.
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