Shin Bet: Jaffa man arrested after throwing stun grenade at yeshiva

Israel's Security Agency said they had arrested the man on September 8, and admitted that the attacks were against the "Judaization of Jaffa."

September 24, 2015 10:42
2 minute read.
Crime scene [illustrative]

Crime scene [illustrative]. (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

A well-known Palestinian former security prisoner was indicted for throwing a stun grenade at a Jaffa yeshiva earlier this month in order to intimidate the students inside, it was cleared for publication on Thursday.

Hafez Cundus, 57, confessed to throwing the grenade “in order to scare the settlers and cause them to keep quiet,” the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) disclosed.

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The agency added that “this dangerous and aggressive action, which Cundus saw as an action against ‘attempts to Judaize Jaffa,’ had the potential to harm the coexistence between Jews and Arabs in the city.”

He faces charges of firearms offenses, aggravated threats, and hate crimes.

The stun grenade did not explode; no one was hurt and no damage was caused in the incident. That same night, Tel Aviv police put out a statement saying that a stun grenade was thrown at a building on Toulouse Street in Jaffa, but that it did not detonate.

They added that the assailant fled on a motorcycle and hit a number of parked vehicles while fleeing the scene. They set up a special investigative unit to find the assailant, with the collaboration of the Shin Bet.

Cundus is a household name in Jaffa and a national hero of sorts to Palestinians, due to his 28-year sentence for a series of security crimes.

Cundus was imprisoned in 1984 for a grenade attack on the house of a Jaffa Arab official who was in charge of Muslim sites in the city amid controversy over the planned sale of land belonging to a Muslim cemetery to a number of Jewish developers. The target was not harmed in the attack, and Cundus was given an 18-year sentence for firearm offenses and membership in a banned organization. Five years after his sentence began he was tried for being part of a cell of prisoners from Jaffa who conspired to sell firearms to armed groups in the Gaza Strip and was sentenced to an additional 10 years.

Cundus later made headlines again during his prison term, when in 1996 he and two other security prisoners were caught trying to escape from Shikma Prison in Ashkelon.

The three had dressed as Muslim women in garb fashioned from bedsheets, and tried to sneak out of the prison along with a group of family members at the prison visiting security prisoners.

The Shirat Moshe hesder yeshiva, as well as other “Jewish- only” construction projects in Jaffa, have stirred anger among many residents, who see an effort to “Judaize” the rapidly gentrifying city.

Around 100 students study at the yeshiva, which was founded in 2007. Although they are often referred to by locals as “settlers,” they come from a variety of towns in Israel on both sides of the Green Line.

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