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May 18, 1984 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-05-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



Friday, May 18, 1984



Gush Emunim rabbi jailed
in terrorism investigation



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Jerusalem (JTA) — Rabbi
Moshe Levinger of Hebron,
a leader of one of the most
militant groups of Jewish
settlers on the West Bank,
was arrested by Jerusalem
police Sunday night and
held 48 hours for question-
ing. On Wednesday, a judge
ordered Rabbi Levinger
held for an additional eight
Detention followed sev-
eral days during which he
was called to police head-
quarters for interrogation
about a suspected Jewish
terrorist underground on
the West Bank believed re-
sponsible for the aborted at-
tempt to sabotage Arab-
owned buses in East
Jerusalem last month and
for other acts of violence
against Arab civilians in re-
cent years.
Security agencies repor-
tedly suspect that Levinger
has important connections
with the underground and
may have had prior knowl-
edge of some of its activities
and participated in plan-
ning them.
Yediot Achronot reported
that Levinger may have
signed a confession related
to those suspicions. His
son-in-law was one of the
first West Bank settlers ar-
rested after security forces
foiled the bus sabotage at-
tempt on April 27.
The 25 suspects now de-
tained in separate prisons
all over Israel are said to
have been linked to the at-
tack on the Islamic College
in Hebron last July in which
three Arab students were
killed and 33 wounded. Se-
curity agencieS are also try-
ing to establish a link be-
tween the underground and
the June 1980 car bombings
that maimed two West
Bank Arab mayors.
According to Yediot Ac-
hronot, the police wanted to
arrest Levinger last Thurs-
day after his first interroga-
tion. But Premier Yitzhak
Shamir intervened, asking
that no arrest be made until,
there is absolutely no doubt
of Levinger's connections
with the underground.
Shamir finally approved the
arrest Sunday, Yediot Ac-
chronot reported.
Residents of Kiryat Arba,
the religious Jewish stron-
ghold adjacent to Hebron
which Levinger helped es-
tablish, were stunned when
news of Levinger's arrest
reached them shortly before
midnight Sunday. The town
council immediately went
into emergency session to
decide what the commu-
nity's reaction would be.
"We feel that we need
spiritual support," Mayor
Shalom Wach of Kiryat
Arba said. Town residents
expressed fear that other

local leaders might be
summoned by the police.
Levinger, a leader of the
Gush Emunim which bases
Israel's claims to the occu-
pied territories on Biblical
injunction, was in the foref-.
ront of the Jewish settle-
ment movement since the
territories were captured by
Israel in the 1967 Six-Day
He led the first group of
Jewish squatters in Hebron
in 1968 and later prevailed
on the then Labor-led gov-
ernment to build Kiryat
Arba which has become the
largest township on the
West Bank.
Levinger moved from
Kiryat Arba several years
ago to establish himself and
a group of followers in the
former Jewish quarter of
Hebron. He recently re-
turned from a visit to the
U.S. to raise funds to restore
the Jewish quarter.
When the investigation of
the bus sabotage attempt
appeared to confirm the
long-rumored exi s tence of a
Jewish underground based
on the West Bank, Levinger
spoke out against vigilan-
tism. At the same time,
however, he appeared to ex-
cuse it as a necessary re-
sponse to the government's
ineptness. He charged that
the government was lax in
protecting Jewish settlers
from the Arab terrorist acts.
Meanwhile, Haaretz re-
ported that one of the sus-
pects in the bus sabotage at-
tempt, an army officer with
the rank of major, has been
on a hunger strike for the
two days to protest "the
exaggerated action" of the
security services against
Jewish settlers.
The investigation repor-
tedly is now focussing on an
alleged plot by Jewish ex-
tremists to blow up the El
Aksa Mosque and the Dome
of the Rock, two major Is-
lamic shrines on the Temple
Mount in East Jerusalem.
Some of the suspects were
said to have confessed and
to have re-enacted their
plans for the police.
There has been no official
confirmation of any of these
reports. The investigation
remains under a news
blackout. There was no
indication if or when any of
the suspects will be for-
mally charged.
Media observers in Israel
have been speculating that
Jewish terrorist activities
were part of a long-term plot
to cause deterioration in re-
lations between Israel and
her Arab neighbors. Some
claim that this was a re-
prisal against Arab ter-
rorism and a means for forc-
ing Arab emigration from
Israel, leading to an earlier ,
coming of the Messiah.

Science Minister Yuval
Neeman, leader of the
ultra-nationalist Tehiya
Party, created a furor when
he appeared to justify and
condone the attack on the
mayors although he decri
the bus sabotage attem,
Interviewed on Voice of Is-
rael Radio, Neeman said
that while he did not justify
taking the law into one's
own hands, "one should dis-
tinguish between attacking
innocent people and the at-
tack on the Arab mayors"
whom he accused of inciting
violence on the West Bank.
According to Neeman, the
attacks on the mayors had
"a positive impact" in the
long run.
The mayors, Bassan
Shaka of Nablus and Karin
Khallaf of Ramallah, were
subsequently deposed by
the Israeli authorities for
pro-PLO sympathies.
Shaka lost both legs and
Khallaf lost his left foot.
triggered a demand by MK
Mordechai Virshubsky of
the opposition Shinui fac-
tion for his immediate dis-
missal from the Cabinet.
Virshubsky declared that if
Premier Yitzhak Shamir
wants to root' out Jewish
terrorism he cannot keep in
this government a minister
who sees "positive results"
from terrorists acts.
Further controversy de-
veloped over alleged police
leaks to the media about the
ongoing investigation. The
chief of the Shin Bet, Is-
rael's secret service, who
briefed the Cabinet on Sun-
day, charged that media re-
ports of the investigation
have caused grave damage.
On Monday, the Supreme
Court accused the police of
leaking information to the

S. African U.
hit by arson

Johannesburg (JTA) —
Police are investigating
the possibility of arson in a
fire that swept the Student's
Union building at Wit-
watersrand University
early this week after
week of clashes betw€
Moslem and Jewish stu-
The blaze, which gutted
the second floor of the build-
ing, is believed to have been
started deliberately in the
offices of the South African
Union of Jewish Students
(JAUJS). The trouble began
on the campus when the
Moslem Student association
distributed anti-Semitic
and anti-Zionist meterial in
the course of an Islamic
Week program.


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