Ya’akov (Jack) Teitel, accused of murdering two Palestinians and attempting to murder three others, is unfit to stand trial, Jerusalem’s district psychiatrist wrote in an evaluation submitted to the court yesterday.
The Shvut Rachel resident, who was charged in November and has been under evaluation in Jerusalem’s Sha’ar Menashe psychiatric hospital for the last three months, has been diagnosed as psychotic.
The evaluation states that Teitel is unfit due to extreme flaws in his perception of his alleged actions.
The evaluation does not address the question of whether Teitel was sane at the time he committed the alleged crimes − more than 10 incidents carried out over 12 years.
Teitel is expected to remain hospitalized for the time being and if his condition improves following treatment, he will be declared fit to stand trial.
There appears to be no legal precedent for declaring a person insane over the course of such a long period and in relation to such a large number of incidents. The issue of Teitel’s sanity at the time when he allegedly committed the crimes is still under examination.
Police questioned Teitel’s relatives in November on this matter, at the instructions of prosecutor Ophir Sagi. According to police, Teitel’s wife Rivka and others said they saw no signs that he was insane.
Teitel had no documented psychological problems before his arrest.
Rivka Teitel’s sister, Dassi Krief of Ma’aleh Shomron, told Haaretz yesterday: “I can’t say I noticed anything ... I personally had things that I didn’t like, like the fact that he couldn’t hold down a job. It’s none of my business and that doesn’t make him crazy.”
Krief said that after her brother-in-law, Moshe, was shot in a terror attack, Teitel was “very angry, but he did not say revenge should be taken on the Arabs.”
Krief said Teitel was “not a member of a sect, like at Bat Ayin,” and that it was “a pity that they blackened the name of the entire community where he lives, Shvut Rachel. They’re amazing people and are supportive of the family.”
Attorney Yossi Graiber is representing the families of Jerusalem taxi driver Samir Balbisi, whom Teitel allegedly murdered, and Ariel teenager Ami Ortiz, from a family of Messianic Jews, who was seriously injured by a bomb allegedly set by Teitel.
“On the face of it, this is no more than an attempt by Teitel’s defense to postpone the start of his trial for unclear reasons − since there is no statue of limitations on the acts of murder of which Teitel is accused,” said Graiber.
Graiber said the families did not rule out that Teitel, who had been able to cheat the police polygraph by reading up on it, may have done the same during his psychiatric observation and is pretending to be psychotic to avoid a trial.
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