The leader of an Israeli neo-Nazi group has been sentenced to five and a half years in jail.
Dmitry Bogotich was the head of a Petah Tikva-based gang that carried out racially-motivated physical attacks on Orthodox Jews and foreign workers and daubed swastikas and graffiti saying "death to Jews" on synagogues. The group searched for potential victims in Tel Aviv, including in the area around the central bus station.
Bogotich had served in the Israeli army and told the court that he joined the group while he was completing his service.
The group's actions were exposed in 2007 and eight gang members, most of whom had come to Israel from the Former Soviet Union, were arrested. Bogotich, who was arrested in January, initially escaped prosecution by fleeing to Kyrgystan.
Bogotich, 23, confessed to aggravated assault, publishing racist incitement and possessing racist material. He was given a 69 month sentence and a 12 year suspended term.
Judge Judith Amsterdam in the Tel Aviv District Court said the group targeted weak populations on the margins of society, who could not defend themselves"
"The revelation that violence based on racist ideologies is reemerging in the state of Israel is horrifying, and reopens the gaping wounds of those Holocaust survivors who are exposed to these events on radio and television."
Four other gang members were also jailed this week, including one whose family survived the Holocaust. At the time, his grandmother said: "I was only six when the
Nazis rounded up all the Jews and began to shoot them.
"I was only saved because somebody fell on top of me and hid me. I know what the Nazis are, I went through it, and my grandson knows this."
The case sent shockwaves around Israel and prompted debate on whether Israel's Law of Return should be changed.