Four members of Petah Tikva neo-Nazi cell convicted in plea deal
Alex Flich and three minors convicted of assault, incitement; four other suspects have yet to reach deal.
The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday convicted four members of a neo-Nazi cell from central Israel in the framework of a plea bargain.
Alex Flich, 20, from Karnei Shomron, was convicted along with three minors of conspiring to commit a crime, assault, racial incitement and the distribution of racist materials.
According to the plea deal the prosecution struck with the four, they will serve between 15 months and four and a half years in jail.
Four others who have been charged in the case have not yet reached a deal with prosecutors on a plea bargain. In addition to the aforementioned charges, alleged ring leader Arik (Eli) Bunyatov was also indicted for assault and battery.
According to the original indictment, filed last September, the eight defendants - mostly immigrants from the former Soviet Union between the ages of 17 and 20 - were led by Bunyatov and perpetrated hate crimes against Asians, religious Jews, drug addicts and homosexuals.
The police investigation into the cell began a year ago, following two incidents of vandalism against Petah Tikva synagogues. Police detectives found neo-Nazi materials on the computers of two suspects.
"The materials we found were difficult to watch," the head of the investigation, Superintendent Yigal Ben Shalom, said Sunday. The video clips found on the computers showed the suspects, along with other people dressed in typical skinhead, neo-Nazi clothes, in the process of assaulting their victims.
These videos led detectives working on the case to suspect that the gang had attacked dozens of people in the Tel Aviv area, mostly foreign workers and drug addicts. In one video, they are seen approaching a foreign worker as he is talking on a public telephone, punching him in the face and breaking a bottle over his head. Violently loud music accompanies each clip, and between segments, the suspects spliced swastikas and other Nazi symbols.
According to the material on their computers, the suspects also planned to celebrate Adolf Hitler's birthday at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum and memorial.