Court to Rule on Teitel's Fitness to Stand Trial

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JERUSALEM, Israel - The three-judge panel at the Jerusalem District Court postponed its ruling Wednesday morning on whether an Israeli facing multiple terror-related charges is mentally fit to stand trail.

Jack Teitel, 37, is facing a 14-count indictment, which includes the murder of Samir Balbisi, an Arab taxi driver, in June 1997, and an Arab shepherd several months later.

Teitel also confessed to a terror bombing at the home of Messianic Israelis David and Leah Ortiz in March 2008, which critically injured their youngest son, Ami, who was 15 years old at the time.

Teitel's lawyer, public defender Asher Ohayon, took a long time debating his points in court this morning, Ami's father, David Ortiz told CBN News in a phone interview after the hearing.

"He wants the court to rule that his client is insane," Ortiz said.

Case a Test for Israel

Two of the three court-appointed psychiatrists who have examined Teitel concluded that he is fit to stand trial and the third said he is not. The court denied Ohayon's request to subpoena the psychiatrists at the next hearing.

"We are discussing one question today and that is whether the defendant is fit to stand trial or not," Judge Zvi Segal said. "We are not discussing at this time whether he can be held responsible for his actions."

Ortiz said he is thankful for freedom of the press in Israel and "for the brave men and women who report the news - for open rather than closed doors" in media reports.

"This case has nothing to with Jews versus Arabs," Ortiz said. "Both were his victims."

"This case is a test for the judges and in the end for the State of Israel," he said. "Can a person commit murder and get away with it?"

"Does an intelligent man suddenly become insane for the trial?" he asked.

Ami's Recovery

Meanwhile, doctors hope to perform complex surgery next week on Ami's damaged left hand. Doctors also hope to replace lost pigment on the extensive scarring on his chest.

"People stare at him when he goes to the swimming pool and ask him what happened," his father said.

Ami also still needs an eardrum transplant.

"With all this, he's doing well because he walks in forgiveness," his father said. "If you forgive, you can go on. It is the key."


Ynet news contributed to this report.

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.