Tel Aviv Family Suspected of Firing Potshots at Home for Disabled

Criminal investigators determine hole in window of home for developmentally disabled was made by an air gun bullet.

Police Wednesday arrested a family that lives near the Akim group home for the developmentally disabled in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Tzahala on suspicion they had taken potshots at the house earlier in the week.

On Monday, a hole was discovered in one of the windows. Because there had been several recent incidents of harassment by neighbors who object to the hostel’s opening, Akim staffers decided to call the police. Criminal investigators determined that the hole had been made by an air gun bullet.

Akim, the National Association for the Habilitation of the Intellectually Disabled, confirmed that there was an ongoing dispute with the neighbors.

During the past month as we prepared the building for the residents, we found that people in the neighborhood objected,” Shira Barak, the Akim director in Tel Aviv, told Channel 2 News on Monday. “Since then I personally have gotten telephone threats. In one case they tampered with the lock and even poured oil all over the entrance. This morning, fortunately, the house when empty when the shot was fired.”

Welfare officials also said that the neighborhood committee had objected to the opening of the group home.

“Social Affairs Minister Meir Cohen vehemently condemned the incident. “I refuse to believe that this is what we are like,” he said. “We will fight this phenomenon vigorously. I support the residents of the home and we will make sure to place guards at the house.”

President Shimon Peres also decried the incident and urged the police to expedite its handling of the case.

Moti Milrod