Analysis: How many Jewish terrorists are still out there?

Analysis How many Jewis

November 2, 2009 01:03
3 minute read.


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If the allegations against Ya'acov "Jack" Teitel are true, then the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has succeeded in apprehending one of the most dangerous Jewish terrorists in recent years. One question - among many - that remains to be asked, though, is why it took so long - 12 years since the two murders he allegedly committed in 1997 - to arrest him. According to security officials, the American-born Teitel, who likely learned how to use weaponry and explosives by spending time on military bases with his US Marine dentist father, was what is called in defense jargon a "lone attacker," the most difficult type of terrorist to apprehend. Teitel was apparently aware of the need for secrecy and the inherent danger in sharing his exploits with family and friends. He supposedly wore gloves during all of his alleged activities, even when allegedly hanging up flyers supporting attacks against gays and lesbians. What also made it difficult was that Teitel's alleged targets were of so many different kinds. He allegedly targeted homosexuals, left-wing Israelis, Jews for Jesus, Palestinians and policemen. This wide variety made it difficult to piece all of the attacks together and for the Shin Bet to create an accurate profile of the type of suspect it was looking for. Nevertheless, it is difficult to understand how the Shin Bet - which almost weekly catches wanted Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank - failed to arrest Teitel earlier. This question is compounded by the fact that in 2000, Teitel returned to Israel after a three-year hiatus in Florida and was detained by the Shin Bet, which had obtained intelligence regarding his possible involvement in the 1997 murders. While Teitel was questioned and the intelligence - according to his recent confessions - appears to have been reliable, the Shin Bet had no choice at the time but to release the new immigrant after failing to obtain substantial evidence to support the intelligence information. If he was a suspect, though, why was Teitel then granted a gun license by the Interior Ministry? The police said Sunday that since he was never charged with anything, there was no legal basis for preventing him from obtaining a license. This seems a bit strange, though, considering some of the draconian steps authorities are now using, such as preventing Teitel from seeing a lawyer for some 20 days. The arms cache that was discovered near Teitel's home and which contained nine different automatic weapons, sniper rifles and pistols was smuggled into Israel in a shipping container, officials said Sunday. Here, too, the Shin Bet could have been expected to inspect Teitel's container if it already had suspicions regarding his involvement in the 1997 murders. The Shin Bet did not offer answers to these questions on Sunday and several times claimed that the investigation was ongoing. What is certain, though, is that the agency is conducting an investigation of its own to see where it might have gone wrong and how it can prevent the next Ya'acov Teitel. The possible existence of additional Jewish terrorists is the working assumption in the Shin Bet, the Israel Police and the IDF. Teitel was not the first and joins a long list that includes Baruch Goldstein, who gunned down 29 Muslim worshipers in Hebron's Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994, Eden Natan-Zada, who killed four Israeli Arabs in Shfaram ahead of the Gaza disengagement in 2005, and the Bat Ayin Underground, which was caught after planting a massive bomb next to an Arab girls school in east Jerusalem in 2002. A senior Shin Bet official admitted Sunday that there were still many anti-Palestinian terror attacks in the West Bank, including murders, that took place over the past few years that have yet to be solved, meaning that there are likely more Jewish terrorists still at large.

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