Jack Teitel, the ‘flower’ of American Jewry, has received two life sentence from an Israeli court for his acts of terror against Palestinians, Christian missionaries, gays, Israeli leftists, and even the Israeli police. This is the final act in a drama that began nearly two decades ago ,when he made aliyah from his Florida home. Once in Israel, he gravitated to the settlements and became a loyal follower of the most violent of the Kahanist movement. His terror spree began in 1997 and continued till 2008.
Over the years, he was either charged and convicted of–or was suspected of involvement in: the murder of two Israeli policemen in the Jezreel Valley, the maiming (by a bomb) of the son of a Christian missionary, the Tel Aviv gay community center massacre (two dead teenagers), the wounding (via bomb) of Hebrew University Professor Zeev Sternhell, and the murders of two Palestinians.
For his deeds, he received two life sentences, for which he will serve a minimum of 3o years. He will also have to pay his victims $250,000. As there are so many victims and the fine so low, there must be a special discount for those Palestinian lives.
That this final act has taken years is a testament to the long, winding road of Israeli justice, which is often denied when it comes to acts of violence by Jews against Palestinians. It is safe to say, and I am confident in doing so, that had Teitel been smart enough to confine his murderous impulses to Palestinians he might still be free to kill again. But Teitel’s hatreds were broad and sweeping. In this he resembles a American white supremacist, more than traditional settler thugs who limit their overt acts of physical violence to Palestinians. Teitel hated missionaries and gays almost as much as Palestinians. Also unlike his settler counterparts, he was willing not just to hate Israeli leftists, but to attempt to kill them. Teitel was also more brazen in that he plastered some Jerusalem neighborhoods with flyers advertising his hatred and offering a reward for anyone who killed Israeli leftists.
In some senses, Teitel was the proverbial criminal crying out to be caught. Like fellow terrorist Yigal Amir, Teitel saw his trial and his prison sentence as a further opportunity to proselytize for hate and violence. In the past few days, he’s announced that God Himself was pleased with his actions. Note in the accompanying picture, he’s wearing a tallit, appropriating sacred Jewish garments to annoint himself a Jewish fighter.
During many years of legal proceedings, his defense attempted a trick often used successfully by Jewish terrorists. His attorneys argued he was insane and therefore not responsible for his acts. This would land him not in prison, where he belonged, but in a mental facility, where his conditions of incarceration would be much more lenient. It didn’t work this time.
Teitel disputed the court’s right to judge him and called it a “whorehouse.”
There are many things that are evil about Jack Teitel and the rabid settler movement that supports him. But the one that is first and foremost, is their effort (which is shared by radical Islamists) to make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a religious war. As I’ve often written here, this is a development devoutly to be wished for by all those who thirst for a final bloody battle in which their side wins a triumphant victory.
Turning the conflict into a crusade or jihad renders it unsolvable. It destroys the ability to rationally address the issues and resolve them. When two religions fight, then God Himself is summoned on behalf of combatants. Once you appeal to the Transcendent, you take the conflict out of the hands of human beings and the battle is to the death.
That’s why the Israeli-Palestinian must be political. It must be (and IS) a fight for power, land, and resources. It is a fight that two peoples of goodwill and with leaders of vision and foresight can settle. We are not there yet. But sometime in the future, we must get there.
This cannot be turned into a fight between God and Allah, or between Judaism and Islam. If that happens, then we are all doomed.
Another of the evils Jack Teitel and his ilk has bestowed upon Israel is the violent hatred of Arabs, blacks and gays that many American Jews bring when they make aliyah. There is a certain strain of American Jews that is drawn to Israel not for reasons that drew previous generations. These settler Jews are not drawn by the vision of social justice and the strains of the Biblical prophets. They are drawn by the racialist vision of Meir Kahane, which defines Israel as a state by and for Jews. These American Jewish olim see Israel not as a democracy, but as a state that must exclude the riff-raff, the aliens, the impure, the non-Jews. If we American Jews have given any ‘gift’ to Israel, I’m afraid it is this: the most violent, most hateful adherents of settler Judaism.
For this, as an American Jew, I am profoundly sad and I profoundly apologize to every Israeli who reads this. Unlike Emma Lazarus, in whose poem, “Colossus,” Lady Liberty urged that Europe send us “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” America has sent to Israel our killers, our haters, our angry youth yearning to put a bullet in an Arab.
Ashamnu, Bagadnu (“We have sinned, we have betrayed”).
Shoded Yam says
While I understand your horror Richard, your shame is misplaced. Ashamnu, Bagadnu? Not exactly and the Israelis don’t get off that easy. Go ask that piece of sh*t Yisrael Medad what he was doing for Geula Cohen back in the 70’s. It was Medad who put Cohen in touch with Kahane and it was Cohen who persuaded Kahane to make Aliyah and involve himself in Israeli politics. And believe me when I tell you, that wasn’t an easy task. According to the book; “The False Prophet”‘ Kahane had already made Aliyah once in the 50’s, to Yad Mordechai. He was stutterer, so naturally the Israelis were brutal and made fun of him mercilessly. Anyway, one night Kahane’s on guard duty. There was an infiltration, some shooting, and the next thing you know, Meir is running back to Boro Park with his tail between his legs.
Richard Silverstein says
@Shoded Yam: I hadn’t heard that story. Thanks.
Abe Foxman, Howard Kohr, Matt Brooks, & Bill Daroff aren’t going to apologize for exporting American Jewish psychopaths to Israel, so I figured someone had to do it.
Deïr Yassin says
“It is safe to say, and I’m confident in doing so that had Teitel been smart enough to confine his murderous impulses to Palestinians, he might still be free to kill again”
Thank you, Richard, for pointing this out. The hasbara is surely going to use this double life sentence (Elad R already did so yesterday) to ‘prove’ that the State of Israel do indeed sentence Jews and Palestinians equally.
“It is safe to say, and I’m confident in doing so that had Teitel been smart enough to confine his murderous impulses to Palestinians, he might still be free to kill again” ?
Where did Richard write this? I’m unable to find this in the post
And Teitel did try to murder an Israeli man, and seriously injured his son who lost part of his hand.
As for the Tel Aviv gay community center massacre – correct me of I’m wrong, but he was not accused of that. when he was caught they thought it might be him and he gladly confessed for it, but the Police said it wasn’t him.
Richard Silverstein says
The man you refer to is a Christian evangelical Israeli named Ortiz. The bomb severely injured his son.
Teitel harbors homophobic hatreds. He confessed to the shooting & I believe he was involved.
What you said is true, but the Shin-Bet rejected his involvement in the Bar-Noar massacre and there’s a gag-order on that investigation.
Richard Silverstein says
@Nimrod: Sorry, but an unsolved mass murder after 3 yrs offers no faith or trust in anything the police or Shabak contend about this tragedy. As far as I’m concerned Teitel took credit & I consider him a suspect, if not more.
I’d rather that the police will find the real killer and not just the first nut job who’s willing to take the blame for it.
this is an old post, but I thought its the best way to inform you that the caught the Bar-Noar Killers.
There is still a gag order, but the whole country is talking about this now and some pictures or the arrest leaked.
At least one of them was in relationship with one of the victims.
now, aren’t you glad that they found the real killers and didn’t just pin it on Teitel?
That’s not a tallit, it’s a hassidic style tzitzit
Richard Silverstein says
Thanks for the correction.
The inertia of the Israeli government in investigating and prosecuting violence against Palestinians is a reflection of state policy. It is abundantly clear from the pattern of settlement and harassment of the population that Israel has de facto annexed already large parts of the West Bank and intends to clear much of the WB of Palestinians within a generation or two. Settlements and expropriations are not on behalf of “security” and there is no pretense about this. It is apprently permissible to beat up an 80 year old shepherd and this is state policy, and state terror. The intent — like the cold blooded shootings at Deir Yassin in another time — are intended to terrorize these people.
So Jack Teitel apparently went to where he was comfortable and given license to terrorize. He apparently just overstepped the bounds of this entitlement, causing an embarrassment to the state and settlers and a line had to be drawn. The amazing thing is what it takes to force the state to draw a line.
Yes, thanks for the story. Lunatics and racists don’t find a very obliging berth in American civil society despite its relative openness and democratic character. That Teitel chose to follow his gut to Israel should give Americans of all political interests an idea of where Israel actually is situated on the political map.
Richard, not meant to be off-topic, but have you blogged about the US citizen from Poughkeepsie William Hershkowitz who was killed/committed suicide in commando raid in Eilat in October 2012. He was described by his friends as “one of the sweetest, most kind and giving individuals I’ve ever met. Everyone from Poughkeepsie is shocked to hear this.” Willie was 24 years old and participated in a Oranim program. Did he already serve in the IDF or was he trained by Mossad? Many oddities in this incident. In a news article from Sweden, Hershkowitz may have been involved in the killing of the al-Hilli family in Chevaline, Haut-Savoie in France a month earlier.
“If we American Jews have given any ‘gift’ to Israel, I’m afraid it is this: the most violent, most hateful adherents of settler Judaism.”
Thank you for your posts. Ahhhh….finally, I am hearing from a Jewish person what I experienced and saw for myself when I went over after losing my airline career after 9/11…to see with my own eyes, hear with my own ears what the truth was. I no longer believe media…or internet trolls and bigots. So it is so very nice to hear your postings… I quit writing about my experiences fearing for the safety of my children after a pro-Israeli death threat. I’m no longer afraid…and it is reassuring to hear sound and reasoned voices discuss this. I wish you would add FB & Twiiter link buttons so this, indeed, can be shared to a wider audience.
Shalom, Salaam, Peace
Aho, Mitakuye Oyasin (‘we are all related’- Native Am. philosophy & Spiritualism)