Trotsky kin is arrested in deaths on West Bank

November 10, 1990|By Michael Kelly | Michael Kelly,Special to the Sun

JERUSALEM — Because of erroneous information supplied by Israeli police, The Sun reported Saturday that police had arrested the great-grandson of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, David Axelrod, in connection with the killings of two Palestinians after the slaying of Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York. The man detained by police, also named David Axelrod, is not related to Trotsky.

JERUSALEM -- Police arrested the great-grandson of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and two other supporters of slain militant Rabbi Meir Kahane yesterday as suspects in the revenge killing of two elderly West Bank Arabs.

Police said David Axelrod, 29, the great-grandson of Trotsky and Jewish immigrant from the Soviet Union, was suspected of helping fellow-settler Benzion Gobstein gun down the two Arabs on a road near Nablus. Also arrested as a possible accomplice was a third Kahane supporter, David Cohen.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Police said Mr. Axelrod and Mr. Cohen, who were questioned Thursday and again yesterday, were released yesterday on bail.

Mr. Gobstein, suspected by police of gunning down Mohammed Ali, 73, and Mariam Suleiman Hassan, 71, was ordered kept in custody yesterday.

A fourth Kahane follower, Yehezkel Ben Yaacov, was arrested on suspicion of inciting a riot. Mr. Ben Yaacov, a student at Rabbi Kahane's Talmudic school here, spoke at his funeral Wednesday and called for "revenge," saying, "We will let our friend the submachine talk; we will let our friend the knife talk."

The arrests are the latest in a string of detentions for followers of Rabbi Kahane, who attracted a small but fervent group of followers in Israel and the United States with an extremist message advocating the expulsion of all Arabs from Israeli land.

The rabbi was shot to death Monday night in New York by an Egyptian-born gunman, and his death increased the level of violence and tension between Arabs and Jews here.

The killings of the two elderly Arabs occurred a few hours after news of Rabbi Kahane's death reached here. Noam Federman, who was a Kahane spokesman, said the slayings had been committed as revenge by Kahane supporters.

Rabbi Kahane's Wednesday funeral and burial, attended by at least 10,000 people, ended in rampages by his supporters that left four Arabs and two policemen wounded and led to 13 arrests. A mounted policeman hit in the head by a stone thrown by a Kahane mourner was readmitted to the hospital yesterday after his condition unexpectedly worsened; he was reported in serious condition.

Mr. Federman and other members of Rabbi Kahane's extremist political group have suggested more violence was on the way, at the same time that police have been bracing for further Palestinian trouble around the third anniversary of the Palestinian uprising in Israel's occupied territories.

Prominent Palestinian leaders have received around-the-clock police protection, officials say.

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