Gag Order Lifted: Right-wing Activist Arrested on Suspicion of Murdering Two Palestinians

Suspect Chaim Pearlman denies police allegations; associates say Shin Bet tried to enlist him to commit crimes.

A far right-wing Israeli activist was arrested on suspicion that he fatally stabbed two Palestinians in 1998 and was responsible for a string of attacks on other Palestinian victims, police revealed Wednesday after a gag order was lifted in the case.

Police said they arrested the suspect, Chaim Pearlman, 29, on Tuesday. He also faces weapons possession charges.

Chaim Pearlman
Moti Kimche

Pearlman denied the allegations against him in an interview on Channel 2 news that was conducted Tuesday but aired Wednesday. "They are trying to pin something on me, that's what I think," Pearlman said, adding, "I didn't kill."

Associates of Pearlman's said that officials at the Shin Bet Security Service tried to enlist him to commit crimes, and said he has evidence to back up that claim. They added that the Shin Bet is seeking vengeance.

Pearlman's attorney, Adi Keidar, said in response to his arrest: "The Israeli public is about to witness one of the most embarrassing affairs, which exposes the methods used by security services, who employed invalid means to get the suspect to connect himself to acts to which he has no connection."

Judge Leah Lev-On of the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court said Wednesday that the investigation was a difficult and complicated one.

Pearlman has been arrested multiple times in the past on charges including beating Palestinians, waving an Israeli flag on the Temple Mount, spraying graffiti and attending illegal demonstrations.

He is said to be a member of the Kach movement, which advocates from the transfer of Israeli Arabs to other countries, and is also said to have had ties to far right-wing Israelis Itamar Ben-Gvir and Noam Federman.

Pearlman was also arrested about three months ago for allegedly plastering "wanted" posters around Tel Aviv of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Police arrested Pearlman and another rightist activist after the posters were allegedly found in their cars.