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Israeli police arrest neo-Nazi gang members

[JURIST] Israeli police have arrested a gang of neo-Nazis [JURIST news archive] accused of attacking foreigners, homosexuals and Jewish people last month, according to weekend media reports. Each member of the gang, comprised of eight young men between the ages of 16-21, are Israeli citizens who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union under the Law of Return [text], a law that allows anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent to become an Israeli citizen. Israeli police arrested the gang members after a year-long investigation triggered by the vandalism of a synagogue [Jerusalem Post report] in Petah Tikva, a predominantly Jewish Orthodox city, depicting Nazi swastikas and Adolf Hitler's name. Searches of the homes of the gang members discovered Nazi uniforms, portraits of Hitler, knives, guns, TNT and video footage [BBC video] of the gang's attacks on Israeli citizens and foreigners. On Sunday, the Interior Ministry [official website, in Hebrew] said they are considering revoking each gang member's Israeli citizenship, while lawmakers suggested changing the Law of Return to prevent neo-Nazis from becoming citizens. BBC News has more. Haaretz has local coverage.

Israel has dealt with alleged domestic neo-Nazis in the past. In 2005, Israeli police detained a group of 20 young neo-Nazi immigrants from the former USSR after arresting a young neo-Nazi serving in the Israeli army [JURIST reports]. The soldier was arrested on drug charges, but police found neo-Nazi material on his computer and a Nazi tattoo on his arm.

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