Menu JTA Search

Settler Arrested for Shooting Arabs May Be Linked to Other Violent Acts

A series of apparently calculated acts of violence against Arabs has led police to suspect the existence of a new Jewish terrorist underground, similar to the one broken up in 1984.

Leaders of the Jewish settlement movement were reported, meanwhile, to be disturbed by the extremism of some yeshiva students in the West Bank.

A Jewish resident of the Samaria district was arrested Tuesday after he opened fire with an Uzi submachine gun on a group of Arab day-laborers waiting for transportation at the Geha road junction, near Bnei Brak.

Two Arabs were wounded. The shooting occurred shortly after the funeral of Frederick Rosenfeld, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Ariel who was murdered by Arabs last weekend.

Tuesday’s shooting apparently was an act of reprisal. The gunman’s name was withheld by court order.

He was brought before a judge Thursday, who authorized a continuation of his detention in custody.

Police suspect that he may belong to an underground group responsible for the recent murders of several Arabs, which remain unsolved, the daily Yediot Achronot reported Thursday.

But the suspect reportedly insisted at his interrogation Tuesday that he acted alone.

According to the newspaper, he may be the same man who shot an Arab to death near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City on May 11.

In that incident and in the shooting on Tuesday, the assailant fired an Uzi submachine gun at short range, after making sure his targets were Arabs.

RADICALIZATION OF YESHIVA

Knesset member Yossi Sarid of the dovish Citizens Rights Movement charged Wednesday that the person who opened fire at the Geha crossroads is also responsible for the May 29 murder of a teen-age Arab girl in the West Bank village of Kifel Harit.

Similar charges were leveled by Knesset member Haim Oron of Mapam, the United Workers Party of Israel.

The girl was shot to death and two other Palestinians were wounded when armed Jewish settlers rampaged through the village in retaliation for alleged rock-throwing.

Suspects arrested after the Kifel Harit incident included students at the Tomb of Joseph yeshiva in Nablus.

Israel Radio said Thursday that settler leaders are deeply concerned over the radicalization of the student body there.

Uri Ariel, secretary of the Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea and Samaria, told reporters that “recent events” made it apparent that there were “hot-headed youngsters” at the school.

It was decided therefore to enroll more “mature and reasonable” students to change the atmosphere, he said. The yeshiva will be supervised by a public council.

The school was visited Wednesday by Rabbi Yoel Bin-Nun, one of the moderates of the Gush Emunim settlers movement.

Trying to calm tempers in the wake of the Rosenfeld murder, he warned there were two “intifadas” on a collision course.

One is the 18-month-old Palestinian uprising. The other is the Jewish counter-uprising, which began about three months ago. Unless both are stopped, the situation could become much worse, he said.

NEXT STORY