The rumours have been flying around for a week or so now.
However, it is now official:
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police have arrested an American-born Jewish settler who is allegedly behind an unprecedented series of deadly terror shootings and bombings spanning over a decade, in which two Palestinians were killed and Israel Prize Laureate Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell was injured. According to the Shin Bet, he also planted a bomb at the entrance to house of a messianic family in Ariel, seriously wounding their son, then-15-year-old Ami Ortiz.
Yaakov “Jack” Teitel, 37, was arrested by the Israel Police’s elite counter-terror unit YAMAM on October 7th as he was hanging flyers in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof in support of the attack on a Tel Aviv gay and lesbian youth club in August in which two people were killed.
So far, Teitel has confessed to carrying out the following:
* The 1997 murder of an east Jerusalem taxi driver
* The 1997 murder of a Palestinian shepherd south of Mount Hebron
* Placing an explosive device in the Ramallah-adjacent settlement of Eli in 2006 – the device was found and disarmed safely
* Placing an explosive device near a Beit Shemesh monetary in 2007, which resulted in one Palestinian injured
* A 2007 explosion which took place in the Ramot neighborhood in Jerusalem – a police cruiser was severely damaged, but no injuries were reported
* Hurling explosives at a police car in June 2007 – no injuries or damage were reported
* Sending a parcel bomb to a messianic family residing in Ariel, which resulted in a 15-year-old boy suffering severe injuries
* Placing a pipe bomb near Prof. Zeev Sternhell’s Jerusalem home in September of 2008 – Sternhell was lightly wounded.
Teitel immigrated to Israel seven years ago, but made numerous prior visits to the country. Police believe he was able to smuggle 10 guns and rifles from the US to Israel, starting in 1997, including an M-16 rifle, a Ruger sniper rifle and a Glock handgun.
I had heard speculation last week that Teitel might have committed the recent murders at the LGBT Centre in Tel Aviv. However, Shin Bet have confirmed that Teitel “was not the gunman in that attack”. He certainly approved of them.
He attempted to bomb police stations and patrols because they provided security for gay pride parades.
Teitel is not suspected of being responsible for the shooting attack against a gay youth center in Tel Aviv in August, in which two people were killed, though Israeli media said he confessed to that attack as well.
Haaretz has further background on this man. He was, apparently, a ‘loner’ who apparently did not associate with those active on the Israeli extreme Right, although he had a friend who was a Kahanist.
Professor Sternhell sums it up well:
“I’m glad to learn that the great efforts by the police and Shin Bet paid off,” said the Israel Prize laureate.
“This is an important day for Israeli democracy. The attempt to hurt someone simply due to his political views was a dangerous step down the slippery slope of a citizen’s right to affect politics and society in Israel.”Israeli society as a whole stood to pay a price had he not been arrested and I hope authorities will deal with this terrorist as it does any other terrorist, Jewish or Arab.”
Words cannot express my disgust at this fascist. I doubt that anybody here disagrees.
“There is still among us a minority that is not prepared to accept democracy and are not prepared to accept the rule of law,” said Netanyahu in a statement after news of the arrest broke.
“They do not represent the majority of the nation,” the prime minister added. “They are a small and marginal group, but we have already seen the strength and damage of one murderer. We must continue to condemn the use of violence and to use all legal power against any attempt at violence.”