I’m passionate about church-state separation, too, but this is wrong no matter how you look at it. People could’ve gotten killed — after-hours security guards, firefighters, neighbors, passers-by. Ugh.
A man was charged Sunday at the Central District Court with carrying out a number of arson attacks on rabbinical courts and councils, accused of setting explosive charges in the buildings of the religious authorities. …The Justice Ministry said the man carried out the attacks with the aim of preventing the provision of religious services to the secular public to further his goal of separating religion and state.
According to Channel 13 news, in January 2019, Zion Cohen, 68, disguised himself as a homeless person and began to carry out reconnaissance trips to religious authorities. At the same time, he attended a locksmith course, experimented with combustion materials at a storage unit in the Merom Golan area where he lived, purchased equipment and materials and started to produce incendiary charges.
Last month, the prosecutors’ indictment says,
Cohen took the explosive charges and while … disguised as a homeless person, hid them at the locations of six religious authorities — the Rabbinical Court in Petah Tikva, the Ashdod Religious Council, the Tel Aviv Religious Council, the Tel Aviv Rabbinical Court, the Kfar Saba Religious Council and the Kfar Saba Rabbinical Court.
All the charges exploded at the same time and caused damage worth tens of thousands of shekels. The charges went off in the early hours of a Saturday morning when the buildings could be expected to be deserted. There were no reports of injuries.
I can’t think of another church-state activist who has ever pulled something like this. Let me know in the comments if I’m wrong.
Cohen was indicted on multiple arson charges, the manufacturing of weapons, possession of weapons, attempting to destroy property with explosive material, aggravated illegal entry to a nonresidential building and attempted arson.
Cohen is also reportedly accused of a 2005 arson attack on the Tel Aviv rabbinical court that caused NIS 2.7 million [U.S. $782,000] worth of damage.
It’s all inexcusably dangerous. Reckless. Stupid. Criminal. Also, counter-productive. Under no circumstances should secular agitators sink to the level of violent religious fanatics. It reflects badly on all of us, even though it shouldn’t.
I hope they throw the book at Cohen.
(Image via Shutterstock)