U.S.-Born West Bank Settler Admits to Murder, Bomb Attacks

By Amos Harel (Haaretz)

Published November 01, 2009.
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A resident of the West Bank settlement outpost Shvut Rachel was arrested last month for suspected murder and for his alleged role in a string of attempted murder plots, according to details of an investigation revealed on Sunday after a gag order on the case was lifted.

Yaakov “Jack” Teitel, 37, is suspected of killing two Palestinians, for rigging the package bomb which left the child of a Messianic Jew seriously wounded, for attempting to kill left-wing professor Ze’ev Sternhell, and for his alleged role in a series of warning attacks against Israel Police at the time of the Gay Pride Parades.

According to the Shin Bet and Israel Police, Teitel has confessed to most of the allegations against him.

The footage below shows a man believed to be Teitel rigging a bomb package sent to the Ortiz family, Messianic Jews living in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

Teitel, a resident of the northern West Bank outpost, was born in Florida and has moved back and forth between the United States and Israel over the last two decades. In 2000, he returned to Israel to live permanently.

During a search of his home, police discovered rifles, handguns and explosive materials; they were unable, however, to find the gun which he allegedly used to kill the Palestinians.

He even apparently claimed during his investigation to involvement in the attack on a gay-lesbian youth club in Tel Aviv, in which two people were killed. The Shin Bet has said, however, that there is not sufficient evidence at this point to tie him to that attack.

Teitel was arrested on October 7 in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Har Nof, in Jerusalem, after posting signs around town praising the attack on the Tel Aviv gay club.

His posters were signed with the name ‘Shleisel,’ referring to the ultra-Orthodox man who stabbed and wounded a number of marchers during the Jerusalem pride parade a couple of years ago.

Police also found posters in his neighbourhood offering a one million shekel reward to anyone killing a member of Israel’s Peace Now movement, that opposes West Bank settlement activity.

Teitel was arrested after a prolonged police follow-up; he was in possession of a loaded gun at the time of the arrest. He was interrogated without right to a lawyer. Deliberations over his arrest were held at a number of courts, even reaching the High Court of Justice.

During his investigation, Teitel repeatedly said that he had acted of his own accord and that nobody else was involved in his alleged crimes.

His wife, Rivka, was brought in for questioning for a few hours a little over a week ago. She reserved her right to silence. Police have said that they do not have sufficient evidence to believe that she had known of his plans, even though the majority of his weapons were discovered at their house and in the adjacent yard.

According to a senior Shin Bet source, Teitel was an “autodidact” who taught himself to use weapons and rig explosives, apparently on the Internet.

Teitel has confessed to murdering a Palestinian shepherd near Mount Hebron in 1997 and to killing an Arab taxi driver in East Jerusalem some two months later. He said that he came to Israel precisely to carry out attacks against Palestinians as revenge for suicide bombings.






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