Yaakov “Jack” Tytell, 40, was sane and acted alone when he killed two Palestinians and injured two Israelis with planted bombs. In two separate incidents in 1997, Tytell, the father of four with his Israeli wife, shot an Arab taxi driver in the back of the head in East Jerusalem, and then a few months later drove south to Hebron and shot a Palestinian man at near-point-blank range.
Tytell was born in Florida and first immigrated to Israel in the '90s. He left the country days after he committed the first two murders in 1997, but returned to Israel in 1999 and immigrated to the West Bank settlement Shvut Rachel. He was arrested in 2009 for those murders and convicted in January 2013. In total, he was convicted of two murders; two attempted murders of a Hebrew University professor and a Jewish teenager in the Ariel settlement who was injured when Tytell sent him a mail bomb; assault with intent, illegal manufacturing and possession of firearms; and incitement of violence and terrorism, Haaretz reported. Tytell was sentenced on Tuesday to two life terms plus 30 years, and was ordered to pay the equivalent of $190,000 in compensation to the victims' families, the Times of Israel said.
Judges rejected Tytell’s attempt at an insanity plea. Tytell claimed that he was under a mission from God and had been told by angels to kill the two people. But the judge cited Tytell’s second murder, in which he was initially going to kill a Palestinian child and then decided it “was not the American way” to kill children, as evidence of his sound mind and the lack of angelic interference.
Tytell also admitted to calling for an overthrow of the Israeli government in favor of a Jewish monarchy, and admitted to planning to fire a mortar at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. In 2006, he was caught distributing flyers to ultra-orthodox Jews explaining how to make Molotov cocktails and suggesting the explosives be used against participants of an upcoming gay pride parade.
Tytell reportedly acted rather insane during his trial to attempt to underscore his defense. He is the father of four children with his Israeli wife, who he married in 2003.
Maya covers the U.N., Europe, and the Middle East for IBTimes. She joined the company in July 2012 after having previously worked with DNAinfo.com and Gawker.