Israel arrests neo-Nazi leader

2011-01-04 11:22

Jerusalem - Israeli police on Monday arrested the fugitive leader of a neo-Nazi youth group as he returned to Tel Aviv from overseas, a police spokesperson said.

Erik Bonite, who has Israeli nationality but is not Jewish, was arrested as he stepped off a plane at Ben Gurion airport, said spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld.

Bonite, nicknamed "Ely the Nazi", fled the country in 2007.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison in November 2008 after a Tel Aviv court found him guilty of commemorating Hitler's birthday - April 20 - at a ceremony where members of his group swore to defend "the white race up to the last drop of their blood".

The other seven gang members, aged 16 to 21 at the time and all from the former Soviet Union, were also sentenced to prison terms for "neo-Nazi activities" in Israel between 2005 and 2007.

They were convicted of racist crimes and attacks against Asian immigrant workers, drug addicts, gays and orthodox Jews.

Group members who called themselves "Patrol 36" were also found guilty of defiling a synagogue in a Tel Aviv suburb and planning attacks on Punk groups using explosives.