Six Israelis charged with nationalistic attacks against Arabs
Police and the Shin Bet security services arrested six suspects in early April, including two soldiers and a minor, for allegedly carrying out a number of violent attacks in Beersheba against Arab-Israelis, police announced on Sunday. Police alleged that the suspects carried out the attacks in an attempt to “prevent the assimilation of Jewish women with Arabs in Beersheba.”
According to police, the Israelis carried out five violent attacks against Arabs beginning in December 2016. The most severe attack was a stabbing in February 2017, they are also suspected of torching the car of an Arab citizen.
Indictments were filed by the Southern District Attorney’s Office with the Beersheba District Court against the detainees for offenses that constitute "an act of terrorism," as defined in the Anti-Terrorism Law.
Following their arrest on April 6, the suspects were questioned by police and the Shin Bet.
Police said the attacks were nationalistic and racially motivated. During the investigation authorities uncovered switchblades, iron bars, and clubs said to be used in the attacks.
Some of the Israelis were said to have watched a video by the extreme-right organization Lehava about "rescuing a Jew who married an Arab." One of the suspects described himself as a supporter of Lehava, police said, but not a member.
Police also alleged that the Israelis sought to ensure that their targets were indeed of Arab ethnicity.
“Hate crimes are one of the most serious crimes we must fight against. Against Jews or against Arabs,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on his Twitter account on Sunday, “There is no place for racist hatred and violence and such phenomena.”