Charges against Jewish extremists suspected of carrying out a July firebomb attack in the West Bank village of Duma that killed three members of the same family are expected soon, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Saturday evening.
“I estimate that it won’t be too long before we see indictments against the murderers, who to our dismay are Jewish terrorists,” Ya’alon told Channel 2 television’s Meet the Press program.
He also said that the Israeli defense establishment is implementing severe measures to ensure that such an incident does not happen again.
“We have taken draconian steps to prevent another Jewish terror attack,” Ya’alon, a former IDF chief, said.
Riham and Saad Dawabsha and their 18-month-old baby Ali died in the July 31 attack on their home in Duma — Ali in the blaze started by the firebomb and his parents in the following days. The sole surviving member of the family, five-year-old Ahmed, is being treated for severe burns in an Israeli hospital.
Indictments in the fatal firebombing could be issued on Tuesday, Channel 10 reported Friday.
Ya’alon also called for rabbis who incite far-right extremists to carry out attacks against Arabs to be investigated.
Earlier Saturday, centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said Israel’s religious right can no longer absolve itself of responsibility for the actions of radicals who grew in its midst, and cited two prominent right-wing rabbis: “People who come out today asking ‘How did this happen to us?’ Where have you been? Don’t you know what Rabbi (Yitzchak) Ginsburgh tells his students? Don’t you know what Rabbi (Dov) Lior tells his students? Religious Zionism cannot disassociate itself so easily by claiming this is an isolated fringe,” said Lapid.
Ginsburgh is an American-born rabbi who has been accused of racist remarks which sanction violence against Arabs. In the past he has spoken in support of the actions of Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 people and injured over a hundred in the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in 1994. Dov Lior was involved in the publishing of the 2011 text “The King’s Torah,” which discusses situations in which it is permissible for Jews to kill non-Jews. Lior is also known for saying that Jews should not rent homes to Arabs.
Lapid and Ya’alon were speaking days after a video surfaced of far-rightists at a wedding celebrating the killings of the Dawabsha family, sparking widespread condemnation. The video shows attendees at the wedding calling for more “revenge,” brandishing machine-guns and knives, and stabbing photographs of Ali Dawabsha.
Ya’alon said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu screened the footage from the wedding at last week’s cabinet meeting, and “you could see the horror” among those ministers who had previously questioned the Shin Bet’s handling of the case.
Lawyers for several suspects currently being questioned over the Duma killings have alleged that they were tortured by the Shin Bet security service. Uri Ariel, a minister from the right-wing, religious Jewish Home party, last week urged the attorney general to investigate the Shin Bet’s handling of the suspects, protesting the “chilling” accounts of torture.
But Ya’alon — along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett — has defended the Shin Bet investigation into the attack.
Those who attack the Shin Bet are lending a hand to murder, Ya’alon said Saturday, repeating his support for the agency. “Terrorism is terrorism, Arab or Jewish,” he said.
In an unprecedented public statement, the Shin Bet on Thursday acknowledged the use of the so-called “ticking bomb” protocol in the interrogation of Jewish extremists, enabling the security service to “manhandle” detainees suspected of planning imminent attacks.
“If only it had been Arabs who carried out the Duma attack,” said Ya’alon in the interview. “I wish I could tell you that was the case. To my sorrow, it was people who think of themselves of Jews. In my opinion, what they did is not Jewish. And there are rabbis who, in their sermons, prompt irresponsible youths to these actions. We also need to investigate those rabbis, whose remarks push the youths to take action.”
Almost 100 alleged far-right Orthodox Jewish extremists are currently either being questioned by the Shin Bet security service, facing legal action, in jail, or under restriction orders, according to a list maintained by a group of their supporters on Facebook.