Departing Israeli Police Chief Warns of Right-wing Activists

Israel’s top police official warned this week that hundreds of right-wing activists were prepared to break the law to achieve their political goals.

Police Commissioner Assaf Hefetz’s remarks at his farewell reception came in the wake of the arrests of two Jewish extremists who allegedly planned to throw a pig’s head onto the Temple Mount — site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al- Aksa Mosque — during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins next week.

The suspects, Avigdor Eskin and Damien Pakovitch, remain in police custody. According to police, the two hoped to provoke clashes between Arabs and Jews.

Eskin’s lawyer, Naftali Wurzberger, said his client opposed the act. Wurzberger appealed to a district court Monday to release of his client, saying there was not just cause to keep him in custody.

Palestinian officials responded angrily to the news of the alleged plan.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat called on the Israeli government to confiscate weapons from Jewish settlers, saying they must be prevented from taking actions that would harm the peace process.

Jerusalem’s police chief met with heads of the Muslim wakf, which administers the Temple Mount, and briefed them on the investigation.

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