More Israeli neo-NazismA Haifa synagogue was vandalized over the weekend - apparently by neo-Nazis, its Succa burnt down and prayer books and a Torah scroll defaced. In Ramat Hasharon, two swastikas were painted on the wall of a garbage chute.
These are just the latest incidents of neo-Nazi vandalism and anti-Semitism here in Israel. The ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron was also desecrated over the Sabbath, but that is attributable to local Arabs and not to the mostly-immigrant neo-Nazis.
There were other incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in Israel this past week:
Also last week, residents of an Allenby Street apartment building in Haifa reported finding anti-Semitic grafitti on the walls of their stairwell. The graffiti included anti-Semitic slogans and at least one swastika.This weekend, the Jerusalem Post Magazine had a lengthy feature about Zalman Gilichinski (pictured above), who has become the country's number one expert on neo-Nazism, a phenomenon that both the police and most lawmakers are more than a bit reluctant to acknowledge. According to Gilichinski, the only lawmaker who was willing to acknowledge there was a problem before the arrest of the Petach Tikva Nazi gang three weeks ago was Colette Avital, the leftist MK who served as consul general in New York for many years. Avital's answer to the problem sounds like something straight out of multi-culti dhimmitude:
Among the first Nazi spray-painting in this wave of attacks were two swastikas found on the walls of a Dimona synagogue on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. The swastikas were found on the building's wall and on the fence surrounding it.
Dimona Mayor Meir Cohen, who was among those who discovered the swastikas, promised a reward from his own pocket to anyone who would provide information on the perpetrators.
Neo-Nazis attacked a 70-year-old woman who was walking on the bridge connecting the Meridian Hotel and the Neveh David neighborhood in Haifa, September 17.
"Two gang members beat" her, said the victim, one kicking her, causing her injuries, and the other snapping to a Nazi salute and shouting out "Heil Hitler." She was able to escape when a street sweeper stepped in to help her. The Nazi-youth beat him, too.
Haifa Radio reported that not far from the scene of that attack, neo-Nazis victimized a family from Neveh Yosef the same day.
The family woke up to find their car's tires had been slit and that a huge swastika on top of a Star of David had been painted on the vehicle.
Avital's approach is to treat both the cause and the symptom. She sees the phenomenon of Israeli neo-Nazism as an educational challenge. "Why do young people who come as immigrants to Israel feel like total strangers, and feel the need to belong to these organizations?" she asks. But all the same, she has introduced Knesset bills that, if passed, would allow judges to strip the Israeli citizenship from convicted members of neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic organizations.The answer to why they feel like total strangers ought to be obvious: They are total strangers. They were brought here on false pretenses: they were presented as Jews but they are not Jews. And they shouldn't just have their citizenship revoked: They ought to be deported back to Russia.
And who are these neo-Nazis? Gilichinski explains:
Surprisingly, they are more likely to be middle-class than poor, Gilichinski says. As a rule, they grew up in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel in their early adolescence, then joined the neo-Nazi groups at age 15-17. Those who immigrated as young kids and grew up in Israel are unlikely to drift into these sorts of activities, he adds. Most are in their late teens to early 20s.Those of you who have followed the Israeli scene for long enough know that it is unlikely that the government or the Jewish Agency will acknowledge that it made a mistake by bringing non-Jewish Russians here to meet artificial quotas in the late 80's and early 90's. But perhaps they are doing so in a backhanded sort of way.
The gangs in different cities here are not united, but they are all connected with neo-Nazi groups in Russia through the Russian Web sites. Together, they are the Israeli branch of the Russian ultranationalist and neo-Nazi movements. The most virulent of these Russian movements is Format 18, whose Web site is very popular with Israeli neo-Nazis.
The locals originate not only in Russia, but in various republics of the former Soviet Union. However, they are all ethnic Russians, and look down on the darker-skinned immigrants from the southern republics such as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, just as they look down on Jews, blacks, Arabs and Asians.
In July, I reported that the Jewish Agency, which was responsible for the Russian aliya in the late 80's and early 90's (among others) had cut off funding to Nefesh b'Nefesh, an organization that brings Jews from North America and England to Israel because they were bringing too many religious Jews on aliya. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Last week, it was announced that Nefesh b'Nefesh would receive direct governmental funding and would compete with the Jewish Agency to run aliya programs. And today, it was announced that one such program for which Nefesh b'Nefesh is competing with the Jewish Agency is the promotion of aliya from Latin America. If Nefesh b'Nefesh, which is especially strong in Argentina, gets that project, it would be an acknowledgment by the government that the Jewish Agency failed on the Russian front. I'll believe it when I see it.
By the way, read the whole article about Zalman Gilichinski. He's a real hero.