Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90
The Rabbinical Court in Tel Aviv on August 03, 2017.

The Central District Attorney’s Office on Sunday filed an indictment with the Court against Zion Cohen, 68, of Merom Golan, on suspicion that he set fire to rabbinical courts and religious councils throughout Israel.

He is being accused of multiple arson offenses, the production of firearms, the possession of weapons, attempts to destroy property with explosive materials, entry and burglary of a non-residential building and attempted arson.

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According to the indictment, Cohen decided to set fire to rabbinical courts and religious councils throughout the country with the aim of stopping the provision of religious services to the secular public and thus contributing to his main goal – separation of religion and state.

The indictment describes an elaborate operation Cohen undertook from January 2019, which included reconnaissance visits to religious institutions across Israel while disguised as a homeless person, participation in a locksmith course, experiments on combustion materials, the purchase of equipment and materials and the manufacturing of incendiary charges.

In May, the defendant stocked 12 explosive charges and traveled to various religious institutions across the country, disguised again as a homeless person. He buried the charges in six institutions – the Rabbinical Court in Petah Tikva, the Ashdod Religious Council, the Tel Aviv Religious Council, the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court, the Kfar Saba Religious Council and the Kfar rabbinical Court.

The defendant set the charges to go off simultaneously on May 17 during the night. Six charges went off, setting fire to the religious institutions and causing massive damage.

In addition, the indictment attributes to the defendant a break-in and arson of the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court in 2005. As a result of his actions, the Court’s first floor was burned, including the archive. The damage is estimated at NIS 2.7 million.

“The many preparations over the course of about two years that the respondent conducted, the assembly of explosive charges, their type and size, and the use of many dangerous explosives indicate that the respondent is dangerous,” the arrest warrant states.

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