A right-wing activist who was convicted of sedition for writing a manual that details, for example, how to set a Palestinian home on fire with its inhabitants inside, was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison.
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Moshe Orbach, 24, of Bnei Brak, was convicted in February on charges of sedition, possession of material calling for violence and possession of racist material. Orbach was arrested in July, after the electronic document was found on a thumb drive in his car during the investigation of the June arson attack on the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, in the Galilee.
The document, “Kingdom of Evil” also contains detailed instructions for organizing a Jewish terror cell and setting vehicles, churches and mosques on fire.
Orbach was indicted on July 29, two days before the arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma that led to the deaths of three members of the Dawabsheh family.
In his sentencing decision, Rehovot Magistrate’s Court Judge Menahem Mizrahi wrote that the document had destructive potential if it reached individuals who were open to its violent message. He said he imposed a sentence that would “deter [Orbach] and many others from similar actions and make clear to him that the court will not take lightly acts that can harm or undermine the delicate fabric of the population of Israel,” while also taking into consideration the defendant’s absence of a prior criminal record. He also gave Orbach six months’ probation.
As for the content of “Kingdom of Evil,” the judge wrote that it was not protected by the constitutional right to freedom of expression because it contained “a clear prescription, detailed and step-by-step instructions for committing violence.”
Through his lawyer, Itzhak Bam, Orbach said he did not write the document, that it did not contain seditious material and that he had not intended to publish it. In his February verdict, Mizrahi said that computer experts proved that Orbach wrote the document and edited it 30 times over a four-month period.
Mizrahi called Orbach’s testimony “evasive, twisting and dissembling,” and said he did not believe Orbach’s account of living together with friends without any boundaries of ownership and “he did not know what was being done with his possessions and who had used his private computer.”