A Jerusalem court Monday sentenced Florida-born Jack Teitel, a resident of a Jewish community in Samaria, to two life terms in jail and another 30 years in prison for two murders and attempted murders of Arabs, Messianic Jews and leftists.
He also was convicted of placing a homemade bomb at the doorstep of known radical leftist Prof. Ze’ev Sternhell.
Although the murders were the gravest crimes Teitel committed, it was his bomb blast at Prof. Sternhell’s doorstep that triggered a storm of controversy in Israel. Sternhell had publicly called for violence against settlers but was never arrested for incitement.
He wrote in the now defunct left-wing Davar in 1988, “Only those prepared to demolish Ofra [in Samaria] with tanks would be able to stop the fascist erosion which threatens the Israeli he majority of the voters.”
In 2001, the professor wrote in Haaretz in praise of the Palestinian Authority “resistance” movement and advised it to restrict its terrorist attacks to Judea and Samaria and not in “Gilo, Sderot or Nahal Oz,” the latter being located next to the Gaza region.
Ironically, after Teitel’s arrest, Prof. Sternhell called for equality of justice, stating “I hope the law enforcement system will treat this terrorist in the same way it does with any terrorist, Jew or Arab.”
In fact, Teitel’s two life sentences were far harsher than Arab terrorists usually receive, outside of suicide bombers. It also is extremely unlikely that Teitel will be released from jail as early as Arab terrorists are released. However, considering the disgust of almost all Israeli for his crimes, everyone – including Teitel – might be better off that way.
One of his victims was a Palestinian Authority taxi driver, who was shot in the head at point black range in 1997. In the same year, he murdered a Bedouin shepherd in the southern Hevron Hills.
After moving to Israel permanently in 2000, he attempted to kill a teenage girl from a Messianic family living in Ariel, in central Samaria. The girl was seriously injured when she opened a Purim gift basket Teitel had sent.
He also attempted to murder a resident of a monastery and attacked a police station during a parade of homosexuals.
Teitel grew up in a Haredi family and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, he moved to Israel in 1999 after several visits. His parents and sister followed him to Israel, and he later married a British-born woman.
After his arrest for murdering an Arab taxi driver and placing the bomb at the doorstep of Prof. Sternhell, residents at his Shvut Rachel community expressed shock and disbelief.
However, he eventually confessed and said before his sentence that he was proud of his crimes. Teitel refused to plead guilty, explaining he did not recognize the court’s authority.
Experts examined Teitel and ruled he was not insane and could stand trial, when he insisted an “angel” controlled his actions.
He also was ordered to pay approximately $200,000 to his victims.