NEW YORK (Feb. 18)
The Jewish Defense League denied today that a Philadelphian arrested here Tuesday night for supplying weapons to two JDL hijackers was connected with that organization. JDL executive director. Lawrence Fine, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he had “no knowledge” of the man. Gilbert Laurie, 26, who was seized by Treasury Department officers at Kennedy International Airport as he was boarding an Israel-bound El Al jet. At an arraignment yesterday in Brooklyn. Laurie was charged with supplying arms to Avrum and Nancy Hershkovits. JDL members arrested last September for allegedly conspiring to hijack to Israel a London-to-Cairo plane of United Arab Airlines. The couple were charged with carrying four loaded guns and a live grenade. They pleaded guilty last month to having falsified their passports, and are expected to be sentenced later this month. Federal authorities charged yesterday in court that a raid on a JDL headquarters in Brooklyn last October had uncovered “a number of guns” that were traced to a Virginia dealer allegedly linked with Laurie. Fine insisted to the JTA today that his organization does not advocate use of guns. He said he considered the alleged link between Laurie and the JDL to be a “dead issue.” Laurie was held in $50,000 ball pending a preliminary hearing tomorrow. If convicted he could receive up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 penalty.