Report: American-Israeli teen among those held in Duma firebombing case

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A teen with dual American and Israeli citizenship is being held by the Shin Bet security service in connection with the firebomb attack on a Palestinian home in the West Bank town of Duma.

Elisha Odess, 17, has been held by the Shin Bet since Nov. 25, his grandmother, Blumi Odess of New York, told the New York-based daily Forward in an article published on Wednesday. Publication of the teen’s name is barred in Israel under a gag order of the case.

On Monday, a detained teen identified by the Forward as Elisha Odess, told a judge during a closed hearing at Petah Tikvah Magistrate’s Court that the torture was so bad that he tried to commit suicide in prison.

Elisha Odess, of the West Bank settlement of Tzufim, located next to the Palestinian city of Qalqilya and near the central Israel city of Kfar Saba, reportedly is being held in administrative detention, a tactic often used in terror cases – usually for Palestinians, under which a suspect can be held without charge and indefinitely, subject to renewal every six months by an Israeli court.

“Every day it goes up a level … I didn’t sleep last night and I won’t sleep tonight either, unless something changes,” Elisha Odess told the judge, according to Haaretz, which did not name the teen. “They are violently questioning me about something I can’t help them with because I don’t know. They are taking me apart, bending my whole back, laughing and looking at me with contempt. The hell with it, what am I supposed to do?

“They yell at me, ‘Murderer, murderer!’ Where can I run? Where is their doubt that maybe I’m actually right? This is the worst injustice the State of Israel can do to a person.”

The Shin Bet denied the torture allegations and said its investigations “are conducted in accordance with the law.” It said the claim that one of the Jewish detainees attempted suicide is “baseless,” according to Haaretz.

On Sunday, the judge ordered the remand for the teen to be extended.

Family members of the teen said that he has not been charged with a crime, was not allowed to see an attorney for weeks and was allowed to see his parents once, on Dec. 17. His aunt, Ilana Odess of New York, told the Forward that American consular officials were turned away when they attempted to visit him. The State Department would not comment to the Forward on the case, citing privacy issues.

Other alleged Jewish extremists with dual citizenship being held under administrative detention by the Shin Bet since the July 31 attack in Duma that killed an 18-month-old boy and his parents include: American-Israeli citizen Mordechai Meyer, 18, and Australian-Israeli citizen Evyatar Slonim, 23, also of Tzufim.

Indictments in the case are expected to be filed this week, according to reports.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at