Police have arrested suspected neo-Nazi gang leader Dmitri Bogotich on charges of carrying out hate crimes in Petach Tikvah.
Bogotich, who was formally arrested as soon as he landed safely on Israeli soil, was extradited from Kyrgyzstan, after having fled to the former Soviet Union satellite to escape justice in 2007.
The suspect was handcuffed and chained at Ben-Gurion International Airport immediately after the plane arrived, by Israeli police who were on the flight, accompanying him from Kyrgyzstan.
Eight suspected non-Jewish members of his Patrol 36 gang were arrested three years ago on charges of attacking various individuals.
Bogotich was not among them, however, having fled immediately following the initial investigation.
Videos confiscated by police at the time showed gang members punching a foreign worker in the face and breaking a bottle on his head as he spoke on a public telephone. Another showed members of the group surrounding a heroin addict and beating him mercilessly, along with another person who tried to aid him, after he admitted that he was Jewish.
Other materials found during the investigation at the time included a weapons cache, Nazi uniforms and photos of the group giving the “Heil Hitler” salute in front of a Tel Aviv synagogue.
Repeated Attacks in Petach Tikvah
Synagogues in Petach Tikvah have been repeatedly targeted by vandals over the past several years.
Non-Jewish Russian vandals were suspected of having trashed the city's Great Synagogue in November on the evening before the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Worshipers who arrived for morning prayers were shocked to find the house of worship in a complete shambles.
Earlier in the year, vandals sprayed swastikas and wrote “Death to Jews” on the Rambam Synagogue in the city. Similar slogans were found scrawled on a nearby yeshiva.