Brothers Jailed for Plan to Set Fire to Cars During Gaza Pullout

Mordechai, Elitzur Levinstein get 40 and 30 months for risking lives on highway.

The Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Mordechai Levinstein to 40 months in jail and his brother, Elitzur Levinstein, to 30 months in jail for planning to disrupt traffic on a major highway by setting cars on fire to protest the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

The plan to block traffic on Ayalon Highway failed due to technical reasons.

Judge George Kara ruled that "setting fire to two cars on Ayalon Highway at 8:15 A.M., like laying a flammable bomb with highly explosive power, means a risk to anyone using the roadway or found near it at that moment."

The brothers, one a former resident of the now-defunct settlement of Homesh, and the other from Yitzhar in the West Bank, were convicted in November of willful attempted endangerment on a public highway, criminal conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and tampering with evidence. Mordechai Levinstein was also found guilty of unlawfully changing a vehicle license plate.

The indictment alleges that the Levinsteins drove two commercial vehicles to a street adjacent to the Kibbutz Galuyot junction off the Ayalon Freeway. With the help of their acquaintance, Avraham Levkovich, they loaded the vehicles with flammable objects.

The next day, the three men met the next morning to plan the precise location the vehicles were to be placed so as to block traffic on the freeway. They also attached forged license plates onto the vehicles and attempted to remove all traces of fingerprints by using rubber gloves.

The three men proceeded to load a mattress and tires, soaked with flammable liquids, into one of the vehicles. However, technical difficulties prevented the drivers from starting the ignition. It was at this point that police arrested Elitzur Levinstein and Levkovich, who was tried separately from the two brothers.