(JNi.media) On the morning of August 13, a recently vacated Bedouin tent encampment near the Arab village of Malik, some 10 miles from Ramallah, was torched, and a nearby rock was spray painted with a statement in Hebrew saying: “Revenge procedures,” alongside a red star of David. According to the Shin Bet website, the arson took place at about the same time the internal security police was conducting administrative detention procedures against Jewish activists in Judea and Samaria.
According to the Shin Bet, following an investigation, three right-wing activists, two of them minors, were arrested on suspicion of carrying out the torching. Now the prosecution has submitted to the Jerusalem District Court indictments against Avi Gafni and against another activist, a minor, on counts of arson, conspiracy, threats and obstruction of justice.
Avi Gafni, 19, originally from Beit Shemesh, was described by internal police as a member of the “Hilltop Youth” movement. The name refers to a social-cultural group living mostly in and around the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, whose definitions and boundaries are vague. Israeli media reports have described them as living—often squatting—in outposts or isolated structures, and in open spaces. Often, they may be part of a commune with authority figures, such as Avri Ran (“father” of the Hilltop movement), Meir Bartler, and Itay and Bat-Zion Zar. Hilltop youth men often grow beards and sidelocks, wear oversized yarmulkes, engage in sheep and goat herding and farming, and resist Israeli establishment culture.
Gafni has been ordered by administrative decree to remain outside Judea and Samaria. The Shin Bet says he is a suspect in a number of incidents of arson of Arab property in Judea and Samaria and in Jerusalem.