JERUSALEM (JTA) – A West Bank settler was arrested for murdering Palestinians as well as several hate crime attacks against Palestinians and Jews.
Yaakov Teitel, 37, was arrested last month, according to reports Sunday following the lifting of a gag order on the case.
Teitel is alleged to have killed two Palestinians. He also allegedly assembled a package bomb that seriously injured the son of a messianist Jew and set up a pipe bomb near the home of left-wing professor Ze’ev Sternhell.
A Florida native, Teitel made aliyah in 2000, though he moved back and forth between Israel and the United States for the past 20 years, according to Ha’aretz. The father of four, he is a resident of the Shvut Rachel outpost in the northern West Bank.
Police said Teitel has confessed to the 1997 murders of a Palestinian cab driver and a Palestinian shepherd, planting several explosive devices in 2006 and 2007, sending the parcel bomb to the messianic family in Ariel last year and planting the pipe bomb near the Sternhell home in September 2008.
He also has supported, through leaflets and posters, a shooting attack last summer on a gay and lesbian teen club in Tel Aviv that left two dead. Shin Bet officials, however, told Israeli media that they do not believe Teitel was the shooter.
Teitel was arrested in Jerusalem in a joint police-Shin Bet operation on Oct. 7, Ynet reported.
Guns and parts used for making explosive devices were found in his home, according to reports. The guns included a sniper rifle, an M15 machine gun, an M16 automatic rifle and a Glock pistol. Teitel was licensed to carry a firearm.
In a statement released Sunday evening by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, his media adviser said that Netanyahu has been kept apprised of the investigation, arrest and interrogation of Teitel and that a statement the prime minister made Oct. 30 at the special Knesset session in memory of assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin referred to Teitel.
"There is still among us a minority that is not prepared to accept democracy and are not prepared to accept the rule of law," Netanyahu said. "They do not represent the majority of the nation. They are a small and marginal group, but we have already seen the strength and damage of one murderer.
"We must continue to condemn the use of violence and to use all legal power against any attempt at violence."