Court slams MKs for incitement leading to attacks on African migrants

Tel Aviv District Court convicts man in failed fire bombing of apartment housing African migrants in south Tel Aviv. Judge lays some blame on politicians for inciting against African migrants.

The Hatikva house attacked and undamaged by Gadban (Oren Ziv / Activestills)
The Hatikva house attacked and undamaged by Gadban (Oren Ziv / Activestills)

The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Elad Gadban to 27 months in prison for throwing Molotov cocktails at the home of African migrants home on Sunday. The judge said some of the blame lies with politicians who have been inciting against asylum seekers.

Gadban, 26, confessed to throwing three Molotov cocktail at an apartment in Hatikva neighborhood in south Tel Aviv, which housed Nigerian migrant workers, along with an underage accomplice in May 2012 . The bottles did not explode and no serious damage was caused to the house.

Gadban testified that he was influenced by statements made by politicians such as then-Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) and MK Miri Regev (Likud) who said Africans were “carrying diseases” or were themselves “cancerous cells.” Gadban also said he acted following the rise in housing prices, affiliated with growing presence of migrant workers and asylum seekers, and also following a complaint by a female friend who said and African had sexually harassed her.

District Court Judge Yehudit Amsterdam sentenced the man to 27 months in prison for attempting to commit racially motivated arson and for illegal production of weapons. While putting most of the blame on the perpetrator himself, Judge Amsterdam also wrote in her sentence that “the incitement [by politicians, H.M] against foreigners has an effect on the public and might lead extremists to burst into action.”

The burnt kindergarten (Yotam Ronen / Activestills)
A burnt kindergarten from the previous Shapira attack (Yotam Ronen / Activestills)

The attack in Hatikva took place about a week after a similar and larger fire bombing took place in the nearby Shapira neighborhood. Four houses and one kindergarten were attacked in the earlier incident, the first of its kind, causing more damage than the Tikva attack. However, as police failed to gather sufficient evidence in that case and because the single suspect, Haim Mula, made no confession, he was eventually convicted only of assisting in the attack and sentenced to six months of community service.