Police detained four members of a family for questioning Wednesday – two teenage children and their parents – over a possible connection with a shooting Monday at a north Tel Aviv hostel for the intellectually disabled. The family lives adjacent to the hostel.
The association that runs the hostel, which opened just this past weekend, says the shooting was preceded by several incidents of harassment by neighbors, some of whom were apparently unhappy with the decision to open the hostel in their neighborhood.
The attack occurred Monday afternoon in Tel Aviv’s Tzahala neighborhood, at a house operated by Akim – the Association for the Habilitation of the Intellectually Disabled. A caretaker discovered two bullet holes in one of the windows, and two pellets were later discovered on the floor of the room — apparently fired from an air gun. One of the house’s occupants had been sleeping in the room at the time.
Akim officials said they believed neighbors were involved, citing several cases of harassment since they announced plans to move into the home: at first they received a letter from a lawyer demanding that they change location; in later incidents oil was poured onto the front steps, a door lock was filled with glue, another lock was broken and several anonymous threatening phone calls were received.
State and city officials said they were appalled by the attack.
President Shimon Peres said Tuesday he “had not believed this could happen [in Israel]. We must not let this slide. Even if it’s an isolated incident, it’s simply disgraceful.”
Welfare Minister Meir Cohen and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai visited the house Monday. Cohen said red lines had been crossed. “We will fight this phenomenon decisively,” he said, vowing to increase support for shelters throughout the country.
Huldai said the city “will not be deterred by violence. I am hopeful that police will track down those responsible and bring them to justice.”