Photo: AFP
Trailer dismantled (archive photo)
Photo: AFP

Suspicion: Haredim torch Elad Council head's car

Tzvi Cohen's car is totally burnt. Police estimate background to incident is his decision to dismantle illegal trailer intended to be used as synagogue for one of town's factions. Cohen in response: 'We aren't scared. Incident only shows we are right'

Anonymous people lit the car of Elad Council Head Tzvi Cohen ablaze. There were documents and personal belongings of the mayor in the car. The police estimate that the background of the incident is the confrontation between the council and a religious faction in the city after Cohen decided to demolish a trailer used illegally as a synagogue.


The arson occurred around 3 a.m. The police received a report that a car in the town was going up in flames. It was quickly understood that the car belonged to the mayor - it was parked in front of his driver's house. Police and firefighting forces were dispatched to the scene. Cohen himself arrived to assess what kind of damage had been caused to his car.

Mayor Tzvi Cohen's burnt car


After an initial investigation made at the scene of the crime, it was clear to the police that the fire wasn't caused by an electrical short circuit or malfunction, but by arson. The estimate is that the car was set on fire in the context of the conflict over the illegal caravan, since the arson occurred a short time after municipal inspectors disassembled the trailer to prevent it from becoming a permanent synagogue.


Residents and eyewitnesses said that during the disassembling of the trailer, there was a lot of unrest in the town, and that members of the religious factions were worked up to the point of making threats on the the council head's life.


Cohen told Ynet that the burning of his car crossed a red line. "There is no doubt that we will get to whoever carried out this act and to whoever sent him. We in the municipality are doing holy work. Some parts of our work are nice things, but there are also parts of our work that are less nice, and interest groups aren't prepared to accept them," he said.


Cohen added that despite the pressure and the threats, he does not intend to take back his decision to dismantle the trailer. "Setting fire to my car only strengthens us to continue our work and doesn't scare or deter us. There is a phenomenon of illegally stationing mobile structures, and we are enforcing, and will continue to enforce, the Planning and Building Law in a massive way. I trust that the police will get to whoever carried out this act," he said.


Rosh Ha'ayin police have opened an investigation to find those responsible for the arson.


פרסום ראשון: 09.06.06, 10:02
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