Jewish extremist held for hate crimes

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The Independent Online

Israelis targeted by a suspected extremist Jewish settler called for harsh penalties if the man, accused of a series of murders and attempted murders, is found guilty.

Police yesterday lifted a gagging order on last month's arrest of US-born Yaakov "Jack" Teitel, 37, suspected of murdering two Palestinians. He is also facing charges of rigging a booby-trapped gift basket sent to a family of messianic Jews which left a 15 year old boy badly injured, and of attempting to kill the Israeli academic and peace activist Zeev Sternhell with a pipe bomb.

Police said that they found rifles, handguns and explosives at the home of the suspect in the illegal West Bank outpost of Shvut Rachel. He was arrested after posting signs praising an attack on a Tel Aviv gay club which left two dead.

Police indicated that Florida-born Mr Teitel had confessed to shooting dead a Palestinian, Issa Machmara, in Hebron in 1997. He reportedly told police he had come from the US to Israel specifically to attack Palestinians. Professor Sternhell said "Jewish terrorists" should be treated no more leniently than Palestinians.