TEL AVIV (May. 15)
A deranged Jew suspected of defacing more than 300 headstones in two Haifa cemeteries was ordered detained for 15 days by a Haifa magistrate Tuesday.
A possible accomplice, also considered mentally aberrant, will appear in court for remand Wednesday.
But the wave of cemetery desecrations continued. On Tuesday, several gravestones in the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem were found daubed with swastikas and Stars of David.
Previous desecrations of that centuries-old burial ground have been attributed to Palestinian nationalists.
Police have not eliminated the possibility that the Palestinian uprising motivated the assaults on the Hof Carmel and Kfar Samir cemeteries in Haifa on Saturday night.
But the prime suspect remains David Goldner, a 42-year-old resident of Kiryat Motzkin in the Haifa Bay area. He has been described as a ba’al teshuvah, or returnee to Orthodox Judaism.
He says he is a student of Kabbalistic mysticism, and claims to be an “emissary of the Messiah,” who he says has been reborn and is living in northern Israel.
Goldner has been in trouble with the police previously for attacking his wife and threatening his parents. In both cases, psychiatric examinations found him fit to stand trial. He will undergo further tests.
Goldner pleaded innocent in court Tuesday and offered to give the magistrate lessons in Kabbalah.
The second suspect was identified as a 32-year-old resident of Kiryat Yam on Haifa Bay, a friend of Goldner’s. The two men have frequented the desecrated cemeteries and in one instance played hide-and-seek among the gravestones with cemetery guards.