Three far-right activists admit to burning Jewish-Arab Jerusalem school

CLEARED FOR PUBLICATION: Members of radical right-wing group Lahava held for arson of Jerusalem bi-lingual school, known as symbol of coexistence between Jews and Arabs.

The Shin Bet and police arrested three radical right-wing activists for their role in a suspected hate-crime attack on a Jerusalem school in which both Jews and Arabs study, it was cleared for publication Thursday.



The detainees are suspected of arson and spraying anti-Arab graffiti in the Max Rayne Hand in Hand bilingual Hebrew-Arabic school in Jerusalem and have been held in custody since December 6th. The group is part of the Lehava organization – whose main goal is to prevent inter-faith marriages between Jews and Muslim or Christian Arabs.


The suspects in court (Photo: Ido Erez) (Photo: Ido Erez)
The suspects in court (Photo: Ido Erez)


During their investigation the three young men – Yitzah Gabay and brothers Nahman and Shlomo Twitto, admitted to the allegations. The incident shook many in Israel and prompted President Rivlin to hold a solidarity meeting with children from the bilingual school a few days later.


The arson attack took place early last week. Firefighting teams who were dispatched to the school found hateful slogans scrawled on the school's walls including, "Death to Arabs", "Kahane was right" and other phrases against Israeli-Arab coexistence.


Damage to a classroom. (Photo: Gil Yohanan) (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Damage to a classroom. (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


The three young men said they launched the attack to bring the supposed dangers of coexistence with Arabs to the forefront of Israeli public discourse.


According to the Shin Bet this incident joins a string of other violent incidents perpetrated by the group.


Their lawyer, radical rightist Itamar Ben Gvir‎, said that in wake of the court decision, "the suspects met (with their lawyers) after five straight days of interrogation and they showed signs of serious abuse ranging from sleep deprivation, to mental stress… they also claimed that one of their interrogators said they would 'rip them a new assh*le.' In such a state they would have admitted to anything."


Offensive graffiti allegedly sprayed by the suspects. (Photo: Gil Yohanan) (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Offensive graffiti allegedly sprayed by the suspects. (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


The mother of one of the suspects in an arson attack on a Jewish-Arab school in Jerusalem last week declared Monday that she would have set the school ablaze as well were it not for the law and that Jews and Arabs should not be studying in mixed classes.


While she shook off accusations of harassment of Arabs, the suspect's mother expressed revulsion at the fact that Jews and Arabs were studying together in the same school. The school was vandalized with graffiti reading "Death to Arabs", "No coexistence with cancer" and "Kahane was right"; books were also piled into the middle of a classroom and set on fire.


“It’s disgusting that Jews and Arabs learn side by side,” she told Ynet. “If we didn’t have a country governed by law, I would have done the same,” she said.


פרסום ראשון: 12.11.14, 15:17
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