Israeli Right-wing Activist Convicted of Sedition for Writing Manual for Jewish Terrorists

The authorities believe that Moshe Orbach belonged to a group that aims to stoke violence in the West Bank and bring down the Israeli government.

Right-wing activist Moshe Orbach after a 2013 arrest for setting fire to a church in Latrun. Orbach was released due to a lack of evidence.
Tomer Appelbaum

Right-wing activist Moshe Orbach was convicted Thursday of sedition for writing the handbook “Kingdom of Evil” on how to establish a Jewish terrorist cell.

“The document was harsh and extremist, and was entirely organized incitement to criminal activity,” Judge Menahem Mizrahi ruled. He did not yet set a date for sentencing.

Orbach, who is listed as living in the ultra-Orthodox town Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, had been ordered to stay out of the West Bank a number of times. In the past he was arrested on suspicions of committing arson at a church in Latrun near Jerusalem, but was released due to a lack of evidence.

The Shin Bet security service said it had intelligence showing that Orbach was a member of a group called the Rebellion that aimed to stoke violence in the West Bank and bring down the Israeli government.

Orbach was arrested in July after a thumb drive was found in his car containing the handbook. The long document calls for violent acts and explains how to kill.

It includes a scenario for setting a house on fire with the residents still inside, as happened later in the Palestinian village of Duma, where four members of the Dawabsheh family were killed.

Orbach denied the charges, saying that he did not write the document, that it did not call for a rebellion and that he never intended to have it published.

But based on the testimony of computer experts, the judge ruled that Orbach wrote and edited it 30 times over four months. He called Orbach an evasive and dissembling witness.

Orbach was convicted based on circumstantial evidence, his lawyer said, adding that a sedition conviction was not warranted because Orbach only wrote a document, he did not advertise or distribute it.

“The only body that published the document was the Shin Bet spokesman,” the lawyer said.