NEW YORK (Apr. 18)
The leader of the militant Jewish Defense Organization, Mordechai Levy, has been released from jail on $35,000 bail, pending appeal of his conviction on an assault charge stemming from a shooting incident two years ago in New York’s Greenwich Village section.
Levy, sentenced April 11 in Manhattan Supreme Court to one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison, was arrested in August 1989 after opening fire on a former associate from his apartment window.
Bail conditions include that his passport remain revoked and he report once a week through his attorney to the District Attorney’s Office, said a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney.
Levy, who is featured on JDO handouts clenching a gun, formed the group in 1985 after deciding that the Jewish Defense League, founded by Rabbi Meir Kahane, was not militant enough.
Kahane, who moved to Israel and spent a year as a member of the Knesset before his party was outlawed under anti-racist legislation, was murdered here last fail.
Levy’s shooting incident apparently stemmed from the split between the JDO and JDL. The JDO leader claimed he opened fire in self-defense when threatened by Irv Rubin, who took over JDL after Kahane moved to Israel in 1985.
When Levy started shooting, after Rubin allegedly threw rocks at his apartment window, a wayward bullet injured a mechanic sitting in a van parked nearby.
Levy, who is in his late 20s, was tried on three counts of attempted murder, one count of first-degree assault, one count of attempted first-degree assault and one count of reckless endangerment, according to the D.A.’s Office.
Alan Schwartz, director of research at the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, said the JDO “has long advocated the use of arms” and added that the “vast majority of the community” of American Jews repudiates such behavior.