Arson Suspect in Galilee Church Torching Charged With Sedition

Rishon Letzion court adds new charge against Moshe Orbach, who allegedly set fire to the Church of the Loaves and Fishes.

Gil Eliyahu

The Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court added new charges to an indictment, including the charge of sedition, against a right-wing extremist initially arrested in connection with the arson attack on the Church of the Loaves and Fishes on the Sea of Galilee last month.

The suspect,  Moshe Orbach, 24, from Bnai Brak, was arrested after a document was found in his possession, which he wrote, detailing ways to harm Arabs. He was indicted in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on charges of possession of material inciting violence and terror.
However, after it emerged that the Nazareth court had no jurisdiction over Orbach because the offenses with which he was charged were committed in central Israel, he was released to house arrest.
The amended indictment now includes a charge of possession of racist materials and the relatively rare charge – acts of sedition – punishable by five years in prison. The court remanded Orbach Thursday until the end of proceedings against him.
Judge Menahem Mizrahi ruled that there was “a reasonable concern that if freed the respondent would endanger public safety,” adding that the document Orbach wrote calling for harm to Arabs “was not written by a person expressing his inner thoughts, musing with hopes for the future, but rather a clear concrete prescription how to commit extreme violence.”
The indictment contains new details about the document Orbach wrote, which is called “The Kingdom of Evil.” The indictment notes that the document was “created to give rise to conflict and enmity between the Jewish and the Muslim and Christian Arab public in Israel.”
The indictment states that the document’s content shows it was directed at a Jewish audience, “seeking, in an extremist religious context, to carry out acts of violent terror against the members of other religions. The suspect created the document to distribute it among this target audience.” The indictment notes that considering the intended audience and its content, the document’s publication could have led “to the real possibility that the acts might indeed be carried out.”
Orbach’s lawyer, Yuval Zemer, commented Thursday that the decision to stiffen the indictment contained a number of legal mistakes, “both in the matter of the quality of the evidence and the legal issues in principle.” Zemer said he would appeal to the District Court.