Court sentences man to 27 months in prison for racist-motivated attempted arson

Man intended to target African migrants; says he was provoked by inflammatory rhetoric from Eli Yishai, Miri Regev.

Daycare owner shows firebomb damage 390 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Daycare owner shows firebomb damage 390
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday sentenced Elad Gadbaan to 27 months in prison as part of a plea bargain agreement in which he was convicted of racially motivated attempted arson against African migrants.
On May 6, 2012, Gadbaan took his brother’s motorcycle without permission as part of a plan to travel to an area where he could set on fire a building where African migrants lived. Gadbaan had been blacklisted from receiving a license to drive a motorcycle in March 2012.
He traveled to 46 Hanoch Street in Tel Aviv and tried to throw two Molotov cocktails at the building.
Both firebombs malfunctioned and no one was injured.
The court speculated, however, that in such crimes of arson, there could have been significant and unpredictable danger to life and property, and that mere luck that the attack fizzled did not reduce the severity of Gadbaan’s actions.
Gadbaan argued for a reduced sentence on the grounds that he was provoked by statements by then-interior minister and current Shas MK Eli Yishai and Likud MK Miri Regev calling the Africa migrants a “cancer” and holding them accountable for an increase in rapes and other crimes.
Gadbaan also said that at the time of the incident he was intoxicated and that he was provoked by a raucous anti-migrant protest.
While noting that some public servants’ statements were problematic and could impact and motivate negative behavior such as Gadbaan’s, the court said that ultimately only Gadbaan was responsible for his actions.
The court did not render any ruling regarding the second defendant in the case, a minor, who is scheduled to come before the court on a different date.