Text size

Chaim Pearlman, 30, arrested yesterday for allegedly murdering Arabs in 1998, is a well-known figure among Israel's extreme right.

In the 1990s, he joined the movement of Rabbi Meir Kahane.

"He hung out a lot with Noam Federman and Itamar Ben-Gvir. He would go everywhere with them, demonstrations, activities, putting up placards," another person who had been a member of the group at the time told Haaretz.

Like his spiritual leaders, he also ran into legal trouble. He was arrested for dancing with an Israeli flag on the Temple Mount, and was convicted for unlawful assembly.

He was also arrested amid a violent outburst by Kahane followers, and for writing graffiti.

During the disengagement in 2005 he was arrested for blocking roads.

On a different occasion he was charged for allegedly attacking Arabs inside a supermarket on Irgun Street in Jerusalem after the 2001 murder of Rabbi Benjamin Kahane, the son of the movement's leader. He was acquitted.

Several years ago, Pearlman married Keren, a beautician from Pardes Hana. The young couple lived in Kfar Tapuach, and then moved to Washington Hill, where Pearlman taught physical education. As a father of three, Pearlman began moving away from public activity.

However, three months ago he was arrested in Tel Aviv for putting up "wanted" signs picturing Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu. He was released by the court.

"It is a joke, all these arrests. We will sue the police for false arrest. People want freedom of expression in this country. From my point of view, this is my job and I get paid for this," he said at the time.

His friends were surprised by his arrest yesterday.

"I do not think Chaim is connected to this story," one said yesterday. "He is a very calm guy, settled, etc. In the past we saw many instances of much ado about nothing. I would be surprised if something real came out of this. I hope that he will be released today and go back to his wife and children. He is a positive man, an educator."

Noam Federman told Haaretz, "For some years he has not been active in what is described as 'extreme right.' He is caring for his family. He studied education. He is a regular guy and this is much ado about nothing."