A 21-year-old man from the Jerusalem area has been arrested on suspicion of spraying inflammatory messages on the home of Hagit Ofran, a prominent Peace Now activist. During interrogation on Monday, the suspect invoked his right to remain silent, but police investigators said they have solid evidence incriminating him.
The young man has been arrested in the past on suspicion of spraying insulting graffiti on Peace Now offices in Jerusalem, and also on the light railway station in the Beit Hanina neighborhood. He was indicted last November on charges vandalism and destruction of property. While under house arrest during this period, he sent death threats by email to seven Peace Now activists.
After being released from house arrest, the suspect was detained anew a few months ago on charges of making threats against Peace Now members. Police sources say that he will be brought to court tomorrow for an extension of his arrest remand.
Recalling the email death threat, Peace Now director Yariv Oppeheimer says that the "message declared 'you will die today.' I've spoken to other [Peace Now] members, and it turns out I was the last person in the organization to receive such emails. Hagit Ofran received such threats, as did others." The suspect apparently sent differently formulated threats to each Peace Now member, but each conveyed murderous intent. For instance, Ofran, who heads Peace Now's monitoring of settlement activity, received an email saying "Hagit Ofran of blessed memory;" another Peace Now activist received a message saying "I'll kill you; your end is near." The suspect apparently obtained the email addresses from the Peace Now website.
A week and a half ago, the suspect was indicted on counts of racist incitement and destruction of property. Under interrogation ten days ago, he confessed to having committed a series of acts of vandalism, including writing the message "death to Arabs." He admitted to spraying graffiti messages at a number of Jerusalem area venues, including the Beit Hanina light railway station, and a branch of the Scouts youth movement.
Peace Now responded that, "The suspects' arrests should serve as a sign to the police and the State Prosecutor's Office, indicating that monitoring of such individuals ought to be stiffened."