An indictment was handed down in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday morning, 13 Tammuz 5772 against Elchanan Ostrowitz, the main suspect in the Yad Vashem graffiti vandalism attack.
The 31-year-old Jerusalem resident is reportedly affiliated with Neturei Karta the leaders of that faction do not appear to be in any hurry to confirm his affiliation. In fact, Rabbi Moshe Ber Beck of Neturei Karta United States indicated the defendant is not a member of the organization, going so far as to disagree with his alleged actions.
The charges against him include trespassing, vandalism, and defamation of a national symbol. According to the indictment, Ostrowitz visited Yad Vashem two months prior to the act to check out the site. He took note of the position of security cameras and security personnel as well as using the visit to prepare a list of defamatory and offensive graffiti which were ultimately spray painted at the location.
He purchased sprays and he entered Yad Vashem via the forest, not the entrance used by visitors according to police.
Three other defendants in the case were released on bail to house arrest. The prosecution asked that Ostrowitz be remanded without bail pending the outcome of the trial against him.
Defense attorney Yair Nehorai told the media shortly before the indictment was filed that he questions the validity of holding a defendant without bail over the charges included in the indictment, perhaps offensive but not criminally warranting a no bail request.
Justice Gad Ehrenberg ruled he will remain incarcerated for the time being. Another hearing is scheduled for the 25th of July 2012, and at that time the request for bail will be head again. Nehorai attempted to persuade the court to release the defendant to house arrest at his mother’s home, but this request was not granted.
The court pointed out that the defendant acted out of ideological motives, which in the eyes of the court increases the severity of the incident. In addition, the other defendants, those released to house arrest are not suspected of involvement in other vandalism incidents while Ostrowitz is suspected of perpetrating attacks in Ammunition Hill, a monument in the Jordan Valley and a monument on Highway 90. In addition, the court pointed out that he does not express remorse. Police report they found a note in his home that says “With blood and fire we will redeem Palestine” along with other papers with statements against Zionism. Police add that he also stated he was sorry he was unable to also target the High Court Building and IDF bases as well as blowing up the Knesset.
These factors persuaded the court to deny the house arrest request.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)