Bilingual School Arson Response to Arafat Memorial

According to indictment submitted Monday against three youths, they burned down Jewish-Arab school after it honored terrorist leader.

Shlomo Pyotrkovsky, Ari Yashar ,

Arson at Bilingual School
Arson at Bilingual School
Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90

An indictment was submitted Monday morning against three youths who are activists in the Lehava anti-assimilation group, over suspicions of setting fire to the bilingual Max Rayne Hand in Hand Jerusalem School last month. According to it, they committed the arson after the school held a memorial to the terrorist leader Yasser Arafat.

The three suspects are Yitzhak Gabai, 22, of Jerusalem, Shlomo Tuito, 20, of Beitar Illit, and his brother Nahman Tuito, 18, also of Beitar Illit, and they are accused of arson, breaking into a non-residential building, and destruction of property. Additionally, Gabai was accused of driving without a license and being in possession of a knife in public.

According to the indictment, on Friday November 28 the three decided to burn and vandalize the bilingual school in which Jewish and Arab children learn together.

The indictment stated that the arson was committed after the three learned that the school held a memorial ceremony for terrorist and former Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Yasser Arafat several weeks earlier on the anniversary of his death.

The day after their decision, the indictment says the three went by foot to the school armed with bottles of benzene and spray-paint, with faces and hands covered and their shoes wrapped in nylon bags.

Gabai and Shlomo Tuito then allegedly entered two classrooms through the windows and poured out the benzene fuel. At the same time, Nahman Tuito spray-painted on the building's walls "death to Arabs," "Kahane was right," "there's no co-existence with cancer," and "enough assimilation."

After Shlomo Tuito left via the window according to the indictment, Gabai lit the classrooms on fire and the three ran from the school and fled by car. Damage was caused to the school, specifically the two classrooms and the equipment inside them, as well as to the windows, warning bell system and firefighting systems throughout the school.

Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) has claimed the three confessed to the arson, to which Attorney Itamar Ben Gvir who represents the suspects argued the confessions were coerced by "severe abuse, sleep deprivation and psychological pressure," and that he would work to have them disqualified.

Meanwhile Lehava Chairman Bentzi Gopshtain said "the Lehava organization works day and night to save Israeli women from assimilation. Lehava only works by legal means. It is strange that when leftist anarchists, or the son of MK Dov Khenin, are arrested, the ISA does not point a finger of blame at leftist organizations.”

"The ISA is trying, for years, to implicate Lehava in criminal actions, and to sabotage the sacred task of saving the women of Israel. We will continue to act legally to assist the women of Israel," added Gopshtain.