The arrest of Yaakov (Jack) Teitel on allegations of murder and attempted murder against Palestinians and left wing Israelis has sent shock waves throughout Israel and the Diaspora. The U.S.- born immigrant was initially arrested for incitement last month, as he was putting up posters praising the murder of gays at the headquarters of NIF grantee GLBT Israel in August.
NIF organized a demonstration of solidarity outside of Prof. Zeev Sternhell's home last year. The Peace Now leader was injured by a bomb, which Teitel allegedly placed outside his home.
Following the arrest of Teitel, NIF Israel issued the following statement:
As the central organization supporting human rights, social justice, religious pluralism and other key issues, NIF implores the Israeli government and public to see criminal acts of terror as warning signs of the danger of incitement, hatred and political violence.
Those extreme groups that preach hatred seek to destroy Israel’s democracy. An appropriate response is not to point a finger at a particular population sector, but rather to mark out the ideology of hatred and violence as part of a slippery slope.
The murders and acts of violence followed a campaign of incitement, which dehumanized social groups including lesbians and gays, Arabs, left-wingers and even the police. The incitement also comes from above from public figures and elected officials. The writing is on the wall, which many in the Israeli public continue to ignore.
NIF will continue its struggle against incitement and racism and will work with even greater determination for joint living, mutual respect and equal rights for all sectors of Israeli society.
Yonatan Gher, Executive Director of NIF grantee Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, Israel's largest LGBT organization, said, "Right and left, Orthodox and secular, gays and straights must unite against these acts of hatred by loving and accepting the other."