Jewish Terror Suspect 'Unfit to Stand Trial'

In response to newly-submitted psychiatric evaluation, Israeli-Arab MK says that in Israel an Arab who shoots a Jew is a terrorist, while a Jew who shoots Arabs is insane.

Suspected Jewish terrorist Yaakov (Jack) Teitel, who was arrested late last year on the suspicion that he was responsible for the murder of two Palestinians, is unfit to stand trial, Jerusalem's district psychiatrist said in an evaluation submitted Tuesday.

Jack Tytell n court
Ana Kaplan

Teitel, a resident of the settlement Shvut Rachel, was charged last November with murdering two Palestinians and attempting to murder three people, including Hebrew University Professor Zeev Sternhell and Ariel teenager Ami Ortiz. Ortiz, a member of a family of Messianic Jews, was gravely wounded by a bomb packaged inside a Purim gift in March 2008.

Teitel admitted to planting the bomb at the time of his arrest, calling the Ortiz family "missionaries trying to capture weak Jews."

The Shvut Rachel resident had been under evaluation at Jerusalem's Sha'ar Menashe psychiatric hospital for the last three months, as a result of an inability to reach a conclusive ruling as to Teitel's mental state.

In the evaluation, submitted to the court Tuesday, Jerusalem's district psychiatrist wrote that Teital had been declared unfit as a result of flaws in the way in which he perceived his alleged actions.

It should be noted, however, that the ruling does not affect Teitel's responsibility for the crimes attributed to him, as he is charged with many separate events spread across eleven years. In order for the defense to claim his mental state affected his accountability for these crimes the defense would have to prove he was legally insane in each one of those incidents.

The evaluation will, however, likely bring about a postponement of Teitel's trial, until there is an improvement in his mental state.

In response to the evaluation Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Taal chairman) said "I am astounded by the unbearable ease in which Jewish killers are validated by claiming that they aren't fit to stand trial."

"An Arab who shoots a Jew in Israel is a terrorist, but a Jew who shoots Arabs is insane," Tibi said, adding that "this is a crazy system and its psychiatrists and the people who run it need to be shaken up."

Arab MK Taleb Al-Sana also responded to the evaluation and said that "he is the most sophisticated madman I know, who planned a series of terror attacks against Arabs and leftists, and if due to this he is unfit to stand trial then no man is."

Arab MK Mohammed Barakeh (Hadash chairman) said that "like expected, and according to tradition, another Arab killing terrorist is deemed unfit to stand trial."

"The man who astonished everyone with his sophistication crimes, has been found unfit for trial, which proves that the legal system in Israel is not fit to execute justice," Barakeh said, adding that "Arab blood is not considered blood in the Israeli legal system, as long as the terrorist is like this one."