The Tel Aviv District Court on Monday extended until 11 a.m on May 2 the remand
of Haim Mula, 20, suspected of throwing Molotov cocktails at a daycare center
and three homes of African asylum-seekers in the Shapira neighborhood in south
Tel Aviv this past Friday.
Mula’s lawyer, Jacob Kahan, said he has not
been told what evidence prosecutors had against his client, who had only a few
minor arrests on his record. The judge and prosecutor would not elaborate in
court but both said there was evidence connecting Mula to the
Police on Sunday would not confirm whether or not the attacks were
Also on Sunday, photos emerged of Mula taken on
Friday at a protest held in the Shapira neighborhood against the firebombing. In
a series of pictures, Mula is seen clashing with pro-migrant protesters, ripping
their placards and verbally assaulting demonstrators.
He can also be seen
being whisked away by police.
Mula’s arrest is the first after three
attacks on Friday on homes in the neighborhood, which has become a flashpoint
for tensions between Israelis and the thousands of asylumseekers and migrant
workers who have moved into the area, many of whom are from Africa and Southeast
One of three buildings that was hit also housed a daycare center
run by Blessing Akachukneu, a native of Nigeria. No one was hurt at the daycare,
though there were four young children sleeping inside.
On Friday, MK
Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), who heads the Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers,
said the incidents were a “badge of shame on the Israeli public” that “poses a
risk to human life, including the lives of children.”
Horowitz added that
“even if there is an argument over the status of asylum-seekers living in
Israel, there is no place for tolerating violence against them or for tolerating
racism and racist attacks.”
The attacks were not the first in recent
years to be suspected of being racially motivated.
In December 2010, a
racially tinged demonstration was held in the same neighborhood against the
large number of Africans who live there. The demonstration came less than a week
after unidentified assailants threw a burning tire at an apartment full of
Sudanese in Ashdod.
Five of the seven residents suffered smoke inhalation
before they were able to break a window and flee.
That same night, three
teenage girls born in Israel to African migrant workers were beaten by a mob of
youths near the entrance to south Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, the Hotline
for Migrant Workers reported.