The identity of the man suspected of carrying out "price tag" operations in an IDF base in Binyamin
has been revealed Tuesday. Eli resident Alex Ostrovsky, who was arrested
on Monday, will be held on remand for five days following a Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court hearing. During the hearing a police official claimed that there is substantial evidence against the suspect.
Later, police detained Halel Leibowitz - a 19 year-old right-wing activist and Kiryat Arba resident over suspected involvement in the case. Police said he will be questioned under advisement. The teen's relatives claimed he was a bereaved brother who had recently been called in for questioning.
Earlier in September, anonymous vandals broke into a military base in the Binyamin region, cut the cables of IDF
jeeps, damaged vehicle tires and spray painted them with the words "Ramat Migron". At least 11 vehicles were damaged.
The "price tag" actions came in response to the demolition of structures in the Migron outpost.
Ostrovsky's attorney, Adi Keidar said that his client denied the charges and that he was only arrested due to a rumor. He added that he knew the true culprits.
|Ynet interview with Ostrovsky, 2010|
Video: Asi Cohen, Hillel Meir, Tatspit
Editing: Rona Pepper, Omer Tubi
During the hearing, a police representative was asked to outline police suspicions with regards to Ostrovsky. The official refused to answer this as well as any other questions. He claimed that Ostrovsky's name came up a few days ago in relation to the investigation, and that when the evidence pointed to his involvement, a decision was made to arrest him.
Keidar then asked why, if police had evidence against his client over a week ago, did they not arrest him at the time.
Many of Ostrovsky's friends were present at the hearing. As he was brought into the courtroom one of them shouted: "We're certain of your innocence, you have our complete support."
The suspect, a secular 27-year-old stands out in the local landscape. He is something of an outcast in Eli were many residents choose to join the IDF officer program. "He is unusual in that he hangs out with people who have no connection to the settlement."
One resident told Ynet that Ostrovsky is "a kind of guru among the Hilltop Youth. They come home at all hours, returning from who knows where and it's quite obvious they aren't sitting around some campfire. I wasn't at all surprised that he was arrested, that he's connected in some way. As soon as we heard of the case I assumed that he must be connected."
He added that the suspect had previously been arrested: "Every time it happens and he's questioned, he's proud of it. He enjoys all the attention that being involved in these cases entails. He's an attention seeker as he comes from a complicated background. He tried to study but failed to complete his exams. His family is originally from Beit El, they arrived in Eli 10 years ago."
In Eli, residents frowned upon the suspect's behavior, he added. "He isn't a normative person. There have been quite a few times where people on the settlement warned that he was getting involved in these things; they were displeased to say the least. This is not the way of Eli. He does the occasional work here. If he's guilty, he must be brought to justice, but he must also receive help."
Suspect Alex Ostrovsky - denies the charges (Photo: Moti Kimhi)
The suspect's Facebook page is filled with posts about "price tag" activities, including the one he is suspected of carrying out. He has a set ideological doctrine which he shared in detail with Ynet 18 months ago.
At the time he explained his motives and what he believed were the differences between himself and the average Israeli teen. "A person tells me I'm a cancer at the heart of the nation. Let's say that he doesn't agree with me – then he should come here and help them (the Palestinians) with the olive picking, help them with the plowing if he believes it's their land.
"Yet if he believed in peace, if he truly believed in it, he would invest at least a little more of his time and the effort it takes to write a talkback to go out and do something about it."
Ostrovsky has a criminal record and there are several cases of rioting and disturbance still pending against him.
Last year he was convicted of assaulting two Palestinian brothers and a police officer. The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court gave him a two months suspended sentence, a NIS 2,500 fine ($670) and NIS 2,000 ($550) in damages to the brothers plus NIS 1,000 ($270) to the police officer who was hurt while trying to separate the three.
Aviel Magnezi, Roi Mandel and Yair Altman contributed to the report