Teitel Consulted Neither Rabbis Nor Wife

Yaakov Teitel's arrest and apparent confession to a series of ideological attacks arouses a lively public debate in Israel on the topic of blame.

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Hillel Fendel,

The arrest of Yaakov Teitel and his apparent confession to a series of ideological murders and attacks has aroused a lively public debate in Israel on the topic of apportioning blame. While most spokesmen in radio interviews, newspaper columns, and the like appear to agree in principle that entire population sectors should not be held responsible for the actions of lone individuals among their number, in practice the nationalist camp finds itself under attack.

IDF Army Radio showhost Razi Barkai badgered settler Karni Eldad of Kfar Adumim (liberated Jordan Valley), daughter of MK Aryeh Eldad and past parliamentary aide of MK Uri Ariel (both of the National Union). He asked her to name a member of the left-wing camp who had committed ideological terrorist acts, and she could come up only with Amos Keinan - assumed of having thrown a bomb, in the 1950’s, at the home of then-Transportation Minister David Tzvi Pinkas of the national-religious Mizrachi party, leading to his death. Barkai then made it clear that the national camp is clearly more prone to sprouting murderers and terrorists in its midst than the left. Ultra-left Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy then summed up: “It’s obvious that people who steal other people’s lands will then take up weapons and shoot people.”

Haaretz, in an editorial the day after the arrest, wrote that though "Teitel-style terrorism reflects hatred that knows no borders or sectors… we can already learn some lessons: [There must be] increased intelligence gathering and law enforcement among the extremists of the settlements, and deeper investigation of attacks against Palestinians.”

In any case, a senior Shabak [General Security Service] figure who was involved in Teitel’s interrogation has been quoted as saying that Teitel did not consult with any rabbis or anyone else before carrying out his attacks. The Shabak figure said that Teitel said he did not even include his wife in his plans - and in fact has now been quoted as saying that she feels she was "tricked" all these years.

Teitel was under GSS surveillance for an unspecified period before he was caught, during which time he did not commit any attacks. He was ultimately arrested while posting posters in support of the murders at the homosexual youth club three months ago.