Alleged "Jewish terrorist" Ya'acov Teitel's legal defense is being provided by an organization devoted to defending Israelis accused of violent acts against Arabs and security services personnel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Founded eight years ago, Honenu has supported hundred of Jews charged with serious crimes, and was the chief supporter of Israelis who faced legal charges stemming from the protests against the Gaza disengagement in 2005.
Contacted by the Post last week, Honenu founder and Hebron resident Shmuel Meidad said the group had provided lawyer Adi Keidar to represent Teitel "to ensure that his rights are protected throughout this process."
Meidad was quick to point out that Teitel has still not been indicted for any crime and could be mentally ill.
"It's my impression that this man is sick, but he's not nearly as sick as the state," Meidad said.
Teitel, 36, is accused of murdering two Palestinians in two separate incidents and of planting explosives outside the house of left-wing professor Ze'ev Sternhell in Jerusalem and teenage messianic Jew (Christian) Ami Ortiz in Ariel, an attack that left Ortiz seriously wounded.
On the Honenu Web site, the organization presents advice for those who find themselves on the wrong side of law enforcement, mainly giving pointers for how one can avoid testifying to police if called in for questioning in relation to a violent crime.
The entry begins by describing how a police interrogation is conducted and what to look out for if one is called in for questioning. Honenu encourages people to exercise their right to remain silent and to make sure not to appear for questioning unless they are officially summoned by the police.
In a section titled "Our Prisoners," the Web site details a list of prisoners they are assisting, including Ami Popper, convicted in 1990 of gunning down seven Gaza workers who were waiting at a day labor pick-up site in Rishon Lezion.
Like all the other prisoners listed on the Web site, Popper's act purportedly came "in response" to one form of Arab aggression or another.
When asked why Honenu supports people such as Popper, who were arrested for violent acts committed outside any army or police deployment, Meidad said, "Someone needs to look out for their families and help them. We aren't the court, we don't judge who or what is right or wrong, we just want to make sure their rights are safeguarded and their families taken care of.
"We support all types of people who find themselves in trouble due to the security situation in Israel and conflicts with the enemy. These people aren't responsible for the security situation here, but they pay the price for it regardless," Meidad said.
"The state sends them [soldiers, police] to protect us, but who is protecting them?" he asked.
Meidad said Honenu receives no state funds and subsists solely off the donations of supporters. It has no large benefactors, but an estimated 15,000 donors who gave small amounts of money to the organization.
Honenu lawyer Keidar said that the group had also worked with lawyer Zion Amir in providing the defense for alleged Teitel co-conspirator Yosef Espinoza at his remand hearing on Wednesday. Espinoza was released Thursday after passing a polygraph test.