Originally from Florida and the son of a dentist serving in the Marines,Yaakov "Jack" Teitel visited Israel many times as a tourist, but took citizenship in 2000,making his home in Shvut Rachel, a right-wing Jewish settlement on the West Bank, south of the Palestinian city of Nablus. In 2005, a settler from the same area was arrested in 2005 for the murder of five Palestinians.
Alex Fishman in Yediot Ahronoth, "It is inconceivable that he did not arouse anyone's suspicion over such a very long period of time. But the fact is, no-one told on him."
Questioned by Israel's domestic security agency, Shin Bet, he first came under suspicion while handing leaflets against homosexuality. Once detained, Teitel admitted to a series of attacks, some taking place while visiting Israel as a tourist.
During questioning, Tietel has admitted to the following:
- Killing two Palestinians, a shepherd and a taxi driver, while visiting as a tourist over a decade ago.
- Planting a pipe bomb at the Jerusalem home of Professor Zeev Sternhell
- Placing posters in his neighborhood offering rewards for the murder of Peace Now activists
- Sending a gift basket, booby-trapped with a bomb, to a family of American messianic Jews, injurying their 15-year-old son
Police say that Teitel, a father of four, was a hardline rightwinger and his ideology produced a hatred of Palestinians, homosexuals, leftwingers and even the police. A search of his home produced an arsenal of weapons, but a spokesman for the police said that they believed the Tietel had been acting alone.
His arrest in October was kept secret by gag rule, which was lifted this past weekend.