Jewish teen accused of church arson confined to house arrest

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January 6, 2016 04:51
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Mordechai Meyer, an 18-yearold Jewish extremist from Ma’aleh Adumim, was released from administrative detention and placed on house arrest after being in Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) custody for five months for his purported role in a Jerusalem church arson in February.

Meyer, who was arrested in August, was accused of setting a bathroom and corridor on fire and spraying anti-Christian graffiti on the walls of the Dormition Abbey compound of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, opposite the Old City’s Zion Gate.

He was released on Sunday after two unidentified minors confessed to the crime, while a third suspect was indicted.

Although few details of the investigation into the arson were made public due to a court-issued gag order, during an interview with Army Radio shortly after the hate crime, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Aristarchos said two suspects were spotted in the compound.

“Two people who were hiding their faces came from the east side of the structure near the cemetery and the Catholic church,” he said at the time. “From there they threw flammable liquid at the seminary’s bathroom.”

Aristarchos added that, on at least one occasion, ultra-Orthodox Jews had threatened members of the seminary.

“Once religious Jewish people with sidelocks came and issued threats,” he said. “Perhaps the police will know if this is connected to them.”

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