JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Eliyahu Cohen, a great-grandson of Rabbi Chaim Kanievski Zts’l and Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman Zts’l, has been remanded in custody on suspicion of establishing an “underground group”, including preparing makeshift explosives in his yeshiva room.
Cohen, a resident of Bnei Brak, was arrested nearly a month ago on suspicion of using weaponry or an installation for creating weaponry for terrorist purposes as well as obtaining illegal weapons. Cohen allegedly wished to create explosive devices in order to establish a chareidi underground movement and assist the youth on the hills in Judea and Samaria in their attempts to establish settlements. Cohen is also suspected of plotting to commit crimes, plotting to perform acts of terror and preparing dangerous substances.
Police raided his yeshiva room in Modi’in Illit last month and found numerous devices. Cohen claimed that his goal was to provide ammunition for the youths in Judea and Samaria to perpetrate “price tag” attacks against Arabs in the region. Cohen did not contact the youths in Judea and Samaria, fearing that the Shin Bet operatives were working freely among them.
In a Kan 11 interview with journalist Akiva Weiss, Cohen readily admitted to the accusation of preparing explosive devices and explained the ideology behind the activities. “The plan was to create a chareidi underground movement, not just to puncture tyres in Sheikh Jarrah [an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem]. This was a defined plan. Cohen said that “every explosive device was made with gunpowder, a gas canister and an empty Pringles container and cost about 40 shekels. The first one I made blew up as I threw it out of the room.”
Cohen described his frustration that every Friday youths from the village of Naalin adjacent to Modiin Illit burn tyres and created violent disturbances which the army does not prevent unless there are injuries to Jews. Cohen hoped to create a deterrent by forming an ad-hoc underground which would use explosive devices against the rioters. An autodidact, he also taught himself from various books how to prepare the explosive devices, which he claims “cost just a few shekels”.
Cohen claimed that rabbis he had consulted were supportive of his efforts but did not name the rabbis. After an attempt to purchase real firearms, Cohen and another yeshiva student were discovered by the Shin Bet and he was arrested. Cohen claims that the interrogations were really hard (“They banged my head against the table until I lost consciousness”) but now expresses contrition and remorse for his actions. “We should leave these actions to the IDF and Shin Bet.”