Rabbis turn in man suspected of Old City terror plan

Yeshiva student may have attempted to attack the Temple Mount; MKs squabble over Jerusalem rock-throwing attacks

By MELANIE LIDMAN, REBECCA ANNA STOIL
December 23, 2010 03:33
2 minute read.
A view of the Temple Mount (Ariel Jerozolimski).

temple mount 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Police arrested a young Jewish man in the Old City on Monday after they were tipped off that he was planning a terror attack, possibly on the Temple Mount.

The suspect was apprehended at the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva, after a student alerted a rabbi that a man matching the police description was in a class. The rabbis immediately called the police and escorted the officers to the room where the man was learning.

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The man was arrested with force and brought in for questioning, where it was determined he was mentally unstable.

He was then hospitalized in a psychiatric institution, and is currently undergoing evaluations there.

Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) would not release information about where the man had allegedly planned to carry out the attack or how far along he had been in his plans.

“He didn’t fit in with the character of the yeshiva,” said Yosef Bruce, a director of the yeshiva, who noted that the man had raised suspicions when he started asking “strange questions.”

“The yeshiva is obviously against these types of actions and does not wish to do harm to anyone,” said Bruce. It was the first time that the man had come to the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva.



Home to 250 students, the right-wing yeshiva was founded 30 years ago in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

Bruce noted that the rabbis received information from the police when they had specific intelligence about a suspect, such as in this instance.

“We all work together very well,” he said. “The rabbis and students at the yeshiva have a friendly relationship with the guards, and we try to make it peaceful.”

Meanwhile, tempers ran high when the Knesset’s Interior Committee met Wednesday morning to discuss rock-throwing incidents in Jerusalem, with MKs slamming the Jerusalem District Police, and Arab MKs facing off against their Jewish colleagues over the question of blame for the repeated incidents near the Western Wall and the neighborhood of Silwan.

MKs, including Arye Eldad (National Union), who initiated the hearing, criticized Jerusalem District head Cmdr.

Aharon Franco for taking an overly relaxed approach to the rock-throwing incidents.

Franco told MKs in response that police forces had arrested or detained over 700 people in the past year for rock-throwing and that he did not think there was an overarching plan behind the occurrences.

“It is unacceptable that the Israel Police have reconciled themselves to terror by rocks and Molotov cocktails, and ignore the fact that the disorder is being organized from above,” complained Eldad.

“This is not a local initiative by a few youths who cannot be controlled.”

The discord within the committee only increased when a shouting match broke out between Eldad, MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) and MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad).

Zahalka interrupted Eldad with cries of “fascist” and “racist” and said that the real cause of the stone-throwing was the “oppressive policies of the occupation.”

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