Jewish 'Terrorist' Held Over Hate-Crime Spree

Sky News, UK/November 2, 2009

A Jewish settler who allegedly confessed to a 12-year spree of murderous hate-crimes has been arrested in the West Bank.

Yaakov "Jack" Teitel, 37, was branded a Jewish "terrorist" in the Israeli media over attacks against Palestinians, left-wing and minority Israelis and homosexuals.

He is accused of murdering a Palestinian taxi driver and a West Bank shepherd in 1997.

In 2008, he allegedly maimed a 15-year-old boy with a booby-trapped present because he belonged to a community of Jews who believe in Jesus.

He is also believed to have attacked a left-wing Israeli professor with a pipe-bomb in the same year.

Israeli police and intelligence agents found an arsenal of weapons in the American-born suspect's West Bank home, as well as a bomb-making factory.

They claim he also attacked Israeli police, who he accused of being "pro-gay".

Officers said Teitel's homophobia motivated some of his more recent activity.

They said he falsely claimed responsibility for the murders of two young gay men in a Tel Aviv youth centre, even though he had nothing to do with the attack.

Teitel's arrest in early October was kept secret by an official gag order until last weekend.

The news has ignited vigorous debate in the Israeli media. If convicted, he will join a hall of infamy of killer Jewish settlers.

Israel has just commemorated the anniversary of the assassination of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by settler Yigal Amir.

In 1994, another settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians in a mosque in Hebron.

Israeli police have insisted Teitel was a "lone wolf", operating on his own.

The Jewish settler movement has been quick to distance itself from his activities and extreme personal ideology.

But Israeli newspapers are sceptical, criticising both the settler movement and the Israeli police.

"He lived in a very small community, Shvut Rahel," wrote Alex Fishman in Yediot Ahronoth.

"It is inconceivable that he did not arouse anyone's suspicion over such a very long period of time. But the fact is, no-one told on him."

Fishman pointed out that another resident of the same settlement was arrested in 2005 for the murder of five Palestinians.

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