Yaakov Teitel
Rivka Teitel
Photo: Dana Kopel
Teitel's in laws at court
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Teitel family: We were living a lie

Relatives of alleged Jewish terrorist's wife stunned by evidence against him, say family feels deceived 'by a psychopath who was leading a double life'

The fridge in Yaakov Teitel's family's home in the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel still sports September's guard duty roster, his name highlighted on it in bright yellow marker.


Teitel, said his neighbors, was devoted to their little community and performed all his duties with avid enthusiasm.


Earlier Sunday, Shvut Rachel was shocked to learn that Teitel was arrested for allegedly carrying out a string of domestic acts of terror dating back to 1997.  


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Teitel was arrested in early October by Shin Bet and police forces. Members of his wife Rivka's family have been spending every waking moment with her since. The couple has four children, and the older ones, said the family, can sense that something is wrong.


In the weeks following the arrest, the family still held hope that the Shin Bet had made a mistake: "We want to believe that everything will turn out to be a mistake, that the Shin Bet is trying to create the impression that they arrested the man responsible for all those crimes just to get others to talk, but we don't know anything," Rivka's sister, Dassi Krief, told Ynet.


Teitel's wife, said the family, has faith that the situation will resolve itself. "She can't afford to think that there can be truth to this," said a relative. "Otherwise she'll just fall apart. She has to stand by him even in this difficult time."


Rivka was accompanied by several neighbors when she first attended her husband's arraignments, but as the case began to unfold, she began attending the hearings on her own.

The Teitel's home (Photo courtesy of Shmulik Schiff) 


Now, as the case became public knowledge, the family seems angry and embittered. They feel as if they were all deceived, said Dassi. "It's very hard. We were all so happy that she married such a good man, and he turned out to be a lunatic. How are we supposed to handle that?


"(…) I think it's better that we know, but that is what hurt her the most – learning that she has been living a lie. Just last week she told me that she felt cheated and then I realized she knew. She understood."


Moshe Avitan, Rivka's brother-in-law, said the family feels exploited: "This man married her while hiding a can of worms. He knew what he was. He started a family without giving his children a second thought.


"This is very hard for us but be can't ignore this… We've already decided to cut all ties with him and his family."


Rivka, he added, "Is in a complete state of shock. He is a psychopath who was leading a double life… She wants to talk to him and she has plenty to say.


Members of the extended family keep going back in their minds, trying to see what signs they missed.


The days after Teitel's arrest were filled with speculations: "We still have a lot of questions and quite a few assumptions," a relative told Ynet. "We may be naïve, but we're not stupid. We know something isn’t right."


As more and more details unfold, the family seems astounded to realize that none of them knew him. Yaakov Teitel immigrated to Israel seven year ago, yet none of his relatives know where in the US he came from, or what he did with his life before they met him.


They don't know what his hobbies are or even the exact nature of his politics. Yaakov, said one of them, "is a quiet, introverted man and we are not ones to pry. All we cared about was that he was treating (Rivka) with love and respect."


"Yaakov and Rivka always seemed so happy," said another relative. "He was a good provider and she never lacked for anything, so we thought everything was fine. I guess we were wrong."


פרסום ראשון: 11.02.09, 00:14
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