Kahane relative released after arrested for mosque torching

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A relative of Meir Kahane reportedly was arrested in connection with the torching of a West Bank mosque then released for lack of evidence.

The teenager, whose name was not released because he is a minor, was arrested by Israeli police on Thursday morning for an incident on Dec. 11, when vandals raided a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf and burned furniture, prayer rugs and holy texts and defaced the mosque’s walls. One graffiti read, "Price tag — greetings from Effi." Effi is a Hebrew name and "price tag" refers to the strategy extremist settlers have adopted to exact a price in attacks on Palestinians in retribution for settlement freezes.

He was released Thursday night after several hours of questioning due to lack of evidence, Haaretz reported. Police reportedly are continuing to investigate him, however. Some reports said he was Kahane’s grandson.

Israeli officials believed the torching was a response to the construction freeze in Jewish West Bank settlements announced last month.

Kach movement founder Meir Kahane, who advocated transferring Arabs out of the land of Israel, was assassinated in New York in 1990 by an Egyptian-born American. The Kach movement was outlawed in Israel in 1994 as a hate group. Kahane’s son and daughter-in-law, Binyamin Ze’ev and Talia Kahane, were killed by Palestinian gunmen in December 2000 while driving near the West Bank settlement of Ofra.

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