Bat Ayin rabbi condemns ‘reprehensible’ firebomb attack on Palestinian taxi

Daniel Cohen calls on his community to engage in soul-searching; two boys suspected of involvement in incident remanded in custody

A burnt-out Palestinian taxi in the wake of a firebombing attack near the settlement of Bat Ayin (photo credit: Israel Police)
A burnt-out Palestinian taxi in the wake of a firebombing attack near the settlement of Bat Ayin (photo credit: Israel Police)

The rabbi of the settlement of Bat Ayin on Thursday condemned a firebomb attack on a taxi on a road near his town in which six Palestinians were injured. His condemnation comes in the wake of the arrest of three boys, aged 12 and 13, in connection with the attack.

In a letter, Rabbi Daniel Cohen called on members of his community to engage in soul-searching and “keep from straying after ideas that incite you to do evil.”

“Such acts are prohibited and reprehensible, indicating a state of confusion and a total lack of judgment,” he wrote, emphasizing that “it is permissible to protest the government’s injustices, but only through legal means.”

Cohen expressed hope that the boys would be cleared, but emphasized that the attack was “a crime and a moral lapse leading to a slippery slope wherein one can no longer distinguish between murder and self-defense, between war and terrorism.”

Earlier Thursday, the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court remanded two of the three suspects in custody for an additional day. The third suspect, who was present at the remand hearing despite having been released Wednesday, told the media that he was innocent of any wrongdoing, and claimed that he had been mistreated while in custody.

“During my interrogation they (the police) yelled at me and told me I’d be locked up in prison for a long time, that I should tell them what happened or I’d be in prison for 20 years.”

Police have claimed to be in possession of forensic evidence — apparently fingerprints — tying two of the boys to the attack. IDF troops found another firebomb at the scene of the crime.

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino said he expected further arrests in the affair, and noted that the attack “threatens the fabric of life” in Israel.

Five of the injured were members of the same Palestinian family, from nearby Nahalin. The parents, 35 and 27 years of age, suffered second-degree burns in the attack, while their three children and the driver suffered first-degree burns.

The attack has been condemned by, among others, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US State Department.

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