The Shin Bet intelligence agency and a special police team of investigators have arrested a Tel Aviv couple on suspicion they threw a pigs head into the Hassan Bek mosque in Jaffa last week.
34-year-old Shimon Ben-Chaim, and his 31-year-old wife Victoria Shteinman were arrested Friday and charged with desecrating a holy site, incitement, mutiny, insulting religious feelings, planning to commit a crime and illegal assembly.
Under investigation, the pair said they'd hoped to instigate Jaffa Muslims to riot in order to derail the Gaza disengagement plan.
Police found a second pig's head in the couple's refrigerator. The couple said they had planned to repeat the attack.
Known to police
The couple is known to police for their alleged involvement in prostitution. They told investigators, "We hate Arabs."
Pig's head in the mosque (Photo: Mohammed Ashkar)
Police believe Ben-Chaim actually threw the pig's head into the mosque, and have asked the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court to extend his remand for 12 days.
Muslim worshippers at the mosque found the pig's head, wrapped in a traditional Muslim headdress (keffiyeh) last Friday, with a note reading, "The Prophet Mohammed" attached.
Members of the Islamic Movement in Jaffa, to which the mosque belongs, said the incident was "serious" and represented a "serious blow" to Muslim sensibilities.
Mosque officials also lodged a formal complaint with Tel Aviv police, and say they have taken police advice and installed closed-circuit televisions on the premises.
Islamic movement: incident 'insulting'
Sheikh Ahmed Abu-Ajwa, deputy head of the Islamic Movement in Jaffa, told Ynet the incident was insulting.
"These are pathetic people, who drank in hatred for others with their mother's milk, for Islam and for Muslims.
"In the past, we have suffered Molotov cocktails, Baruch Goldstein, and the attack in Shfaram. If the police don't do something, there will be an explosion."
Still more needed
Abu-Ajwa praised the arrests in the case, but warned the move wasn't enough.
"The problem is not private individuals. The problem is in the ideology of these people, from which more and more Jewish terrorists are coming.
"We are feeling less and less secure in our holy places. I expect police will take concrete action in order to dry up the sources of this terrorism."
Salah to visit Friday
The leader of the Israel Islamic Movement, Sheikh Raad Salah, said the arrests were "suspicious," because they came ahead of his scheduled sermon at the Mosque Friday.
Salah recently completed
a prison sentence for contacting Iran, but Abu-Ajwa warns not to discount the Sheikh's voice.
"Salah represents the voices of a million Arabs in this country, who call for an end to the scorn shown to their holy places and their dignity," he said.