TEL AVIV (Dec. 19)
Six members of the militantly anti-Arab Kach organization have been detained pending the completion of a police investigation into charges that they conspired to carry out attacks against Palestinians.
In addition to the conspiracy allegations, they also face charges of illegal possession of and trading in weapons, organizing paramilitary drills, and belonging to an illegal organization.
The six — four of whom are American citizens — were picked up by police early last Friday and were ordered detained for periods of between two to five days while the police complete their investigation.
The six denied all of the charges against them.
Their arrests were carried out after the police were reportedly tipped-off by former Kach leader Rabbi Avraham Toledano, who was charged in Tel Aviv District Court on Dec. 9 with importing weapons from the United States and attempting to manufacture arms.
Toledano was arrested late last month at Ben-Gurion Airport after customs officers found about $50,000 cash in his luggage, as well as radio scanners, bomb fuses, detonators and instructions on how to use explosives.
Police reportedly believed that Toledano, a resident of the West Bank town of Kiryat Arba, was planning to attack Palestinians.
Among the six detained was Mark Bluestein, 25, an American tourist and a student at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount Yeshiva.
The other four suspects were Baruch Ben-Yosef, Aharon Weinstein Hacohen, Israel Fuchs, Howard Friedman and Lynne Sherry Handleman.
Ben-Yosef, the executive director of the Temple Mount Yeshiva and a central figure in the Kach organization, admitted that he is wanted by the FBI in the United States for his involvement in the militant Jewish Defense League during the 1970s and 1980s.