Gil Troy Quoted in “Suspected Israeli Neo-Nazi Arrested After Extradition”

Source: AOL, 1-4-11

A non-Jewish Israeli immigrant from Russia suspected of leading a neo-Nazi youth gang was arrested here after he was extradited from Kyrgystan to Israel.

Israeli officials say Dmitri Bogotich, 24, headed a gang that assaulted the homeless, foreign workers, drug addicts and religious Jews. Eight members of the gang, between the ages of 17 and 20, were sent to prison for sentences ranging from one year to seven years for the assaults.

The gang filmed both their assaults and themselves giving a Nazi salute, posting the clips on YouTube and a neo-Nazi website called Format 18. In one incident, members of the group attacked a drug addict in Tel Aviv, forced him to get on his knees and beg for forgiveness. In another incident, they broke a beer bottle over the head of a foreign worker.

Dmitri Bogotich is a violent gang leader with neo-Nazi ideologies.

Oded Balilty, AP
Israeli Dmitri Bogotich, 24, pauses during a court session Tuesday in the town of Ramleh after he entered Israel following deportation from Kyrgyzstan. Israeli police say he is a violent gang leader with neo-Nazi sympathies.

Bogotich fled to Russia in 2007, after police first questioned him in connection to the case. A few weeks ago, officials of Interpol arrested him after he arrived at the airport near the capital of Kyrgystan. Israeli police detectives accompanied him on his flight back to Israel.

An Israeli police spokesman said he was taken directly to police headquarters, handcuffed and with shackles on his legs. The spokesman said he cooperated with investigators and confessed to some of the allegations against him. He admitted to being a member of the gang but not its leader.

“He’s a young guy who’s freaked out about his arrest,” said Yashar Yaakobi, his lawyer from the public defender’s office. “He claims he was young and bored and got caught up with the wrong people.”

Yaakobi also said that Bogotich apologized to investigators and said that he did not have any genuine admiration for Hitler and that he got involved because he was bored.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AOL News that Bogotich is lying.

“He can say whatever he wants, but we know who he is and exactly what he did,” he said. “We invested a lot of resources since he fled the country, and we succeeded in getting him back.”

Police officials said the arrest showed that the Israeli police can function effectively.

“The Israeli police will reach anywhere in the world in order to nab the criminals,” Central District police commander Bentzi Sau said. “The citizens have someone they can count on, and the criminals have something to fear.”

The pictures of Bogotich and the other members of the group giving the Nazi salute were broadcast on Israeli television when the members of the gang were first arrested. They raised questions about how a neo-Nazi group could flourish in Israel. Rosenfeld told AOL News that there is no neo-Nazi movement in Israel.

“There are only individuals, and as soon as we find out about them, we do whatever we need to stop them,” he said.

Some Israeli analysts say they fear that the news of Bogotich’s arrest could encourage negative sentiments against Russian immigrants here. More than 1 million Russian-speaking immigrants moved to Israel in the 1990s. According to Israeli law, anyone with one Jewish grandparent is eligible for Israeli citizenship.

“There is a notion that the Russians are pagans who came here to exploit the goodness of the state,” Gil Troy, a fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, told AOL News. “This arrest could feed into those feelings.”