The Strange Case of the Christian Zionist Terrorist

Much remains to be discovered about Mr. Livvix, but if he’s guilty of the accusations leveled against him, he was gunning to start a catastrophe.

Photo Illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast

RAMALLAH, The West Bank—Adam Everett Livvix may or may not be a Christian Zionist from Texas, or he may be a fugitive from Illinois, or both. He also has claimed he was a U.S. Navy SEAL. And he was indicted in Israel last week on charges he plotted to blow up sites holy to Islam.

Livvix, 30, is now in solitary confinement in the maximum-security Ayalon prison in Ramla, a city near Tel Aviv.

According to the prosecutor’s submission to the court outlining reasons for the indictment, which was obtained by The Daily Beast, there would seem to be ample incriminating evidence, but there also remain quite a few mysteries.

Much of the material in the dossier was gathered by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, and includes, but is not limited to, testimony from unnamed sources citing Livvix’s “negative views” towards the Arab population of Israel, incriminating social media posts, conversations from the popular messaging service Whatsapp, and a list of weapons found in his possession.

According to the document, these included six stun grenades, a smoke grenade, tear gas grenades, and the explosives he allegedly planned to use in the attacks on Islamic holy sites. The munitions reportedly were stolen from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) by Livvix’s roommate, an IDF soldier with American citizenship. But it appears no charges have been brought against the roommate.

Israelis often are amused and appalled by the crazies attracted to the Holy Land, and not only for religious reasons. For a certain kind of macho fantasist, the mystique that surrounds the IDF has almost as much allure as the mystical shrines of the Abrahamic religions.

As soon as the news broke about Livvix’s detention, the Israeli media started reporting he is a crazy Christian from Texas who supposedly presented himself as a veteran of the U.S. Special Operations Force. There is even a weird twist to the tabloid tale suggesting that, given the rep he was spreading about being a SEAL, he was approached by a Palestinian who asked him to assassinate Barack Obama with a sniper rifle when the president visited Bethlehem in 2013. Livvix is supposed to have declined.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld flatly told The Times of Israel that Livvix was a Christian extremist “seeking to carry out a terror attack against an Islamic site.”

Shin Bet has presented the case as one of the “most severe” security threats in Israel’s history, says Livvix’s attorney, Gal Wolf. And, as any good public defender would, Wolf says the allegations are absurd.

“These charges are completely unfounded,” Wolf told The Daily Beast. He suggested that the information compiled in the case is based on interrogations that would not have been possible if Livvix had had access to an attorney. “Shin Bet told the court that if Adam were to meet a lawyer, he could cancel all the investigation. The lawyer would tell him not to speak, to keep silent,” Wolf said.

Israel commonly holds people suspected of threatening national security for long periods without access to legal counsel. This practice is known as administrative detention and it’s given out in six-month sentences that a judge may renew indefinitely, following hearings in which the defendant is represented by military judges or High Court justices.

While this may sound pretty equitable, Israeli rights group B’Tselem says that judges “often shirk this responsibility and almost always accept the position of the security establishment.”

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Currently, Israel is holding around 470 Palestinians without charge or access to legal counsel. Cases of non-Palestinians like Livvix being held in administrative detention are rare. But he got a small dose of the experience.

Wolf said it took eight days before he was able to see Livvix. “He knew he had a lawyer, but he didn’t know my name, he didn’t meet me. It’s very unusual,” Wolf said. “Eight days is a long time.”

During that time days, Livvix went through court hearings without legal representation. They were conducted entirely in Hebrew, a language the U.S. native does not speak, although he was provided a translator.

Wolf said he has yet to see all the evidence presented. “In court, they said that they have text messages between Adam and another guy. I don’t know who the guy is. I can only guess.”

Interestingly, given the furor raised when the story about Livvix broke, most of the serious charges have been dropped, according to his attorney. Now, Livvix is only being charged with possession of weapons—including, admittedly, explosives—and overstaying his visa by more than a year.

Interestingly, given the furor raised when the story about Livvix broke, most of the serious charges have been dropped, according to his attorney. Now, Livvix is only being charged with possession of weapons—including, admittedly, explosives—and overstaying his visa by more than a year.

“The investigation started with ‘Adam vs. Arabs,’ that he wanted to blow up everything that was important to them,” said Wolf. “Now the charge is that he was in possession of weapons. Nothing else.”

The defense team expects to receive all of the documents and evidence in the coming week. A hearing to decide the question of whether or not Livvix will remain in custody takes place on Dec. 21.

The defense team expects to receive all of the documents and evidence in the coming week. A hearing to decide the question of whether or not Livvix will remain in custody takes place on Dec. 21.

There are other questions, though. The confusion surrounding his origins is one. Many outlets reported that Livvix hails from Texas. This is notable, because it plays into the idea that he is a Christian extremist.

Israeli media have gone out of their way to focus on the supposed Christian Zionist connection, with Haaretz even mentioning an incident involving a Christian extremist from Australia, Denis Michael Rohan, who set fire to the al-Aqsa compound in 1969 in hopes of hastening the Second Coming. Yes, that was a while ago, but in the Middle East, after all, 45 years is no time at all.

The al-Aqsa compound, a hotly contested holy site, has been the source of many recent clashes between right-wing Israeli Jews who wish to pray in the compound’s courtyard, and Palestinians (not only Muslims), who view the push for courtyard prayer as a further encroachment on their national identity. The name and location of the Islamic holy site Livvix allegedly wanted to blow up isn’t mentioned anywhere, but one could reasonably assume it was the al-Aqsa compound.

Texas is a convenient base for any Christian obsessed with Israel. It’s a state that’s home to many Zionist Christian churches with troubling beliefs, with a prime example being Glory of Zion International (GZI) based in Corinth, a small city near Dallas.

The church is flamboyant in its celebration of all things Hebraic: it will host a Hanukkah celebration on Dec. 17, and it even has an “Israel Prayer Garden.”

This seemingly large respect for Jewish religious practices does not mean that churches like GZI are actually accepting of Judaism. No, Jews will burn in hell right beside Muslims, atheists, and any other person who does not accept Jesus Christ as his lord and savior.

Their preoccupation with Jewish culture, and Israel, comes from the belief that Jews “even in times of unbelief [that is, now], are still His covenant people.”

According to many interpretations of Christian theology, once Christ died on the cross for the sins of mankind, God’s special agreement with the Jewish people was over and the entire world, all gentiles, became his “covenant people.”

GZI does not agree. Its beliefs page says, “We have not replaced Israel, but are called to intercede for Israel’s full restoration.”

Things are especially troubling once you get to the page that details GZI’s Kingdom Force initiative, a training course for “Propelling and Thrusting the Kingdom forward.” GZI quotes Matthew 11:12—“And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” The initiative hopes to teach its pupils to “learn to overcome by becoming a violent, praising, worshipping people” that will tear asunder the “thrones of iniquity.”

Yet, for all the implications raised in Israel, there are no known links between Livvix, who is unable to give interviews until after his hearing on December 21, and GZI or any other explicitly Zionist congregation.

Livvix may not even be from Texas, despite the Israeli media’s desire to make him a Lone Star denizen.

A bounty hunter told AFP that the suspected Texan could very well be Everett Livvix of Robinson, Illinois. Livvix allegedly arrived in Israel a short time after he jumped bail on drug charges.

Wolf told The Daily Beast that he doesn’t believe his client is from Texas, in fact, and that Livvix has family in Illinois. There also appear to be relatives in the state next door. A local television station in Indiana described Livvix as the half brother of Laura Livvix George, who is a well known figure, along with her husband Tony George, on the Indy race car circuit.

In Israel, Livvix’s mental health is another concern. Reluctant to speak on the subject, Wolf stated that “through the process of investigation,” it became clear that “a psychiatrist should see Adam.”

A psych evaluation has been ordered, and according to a spokesman for the Israeli Ministry of Justice, its findings will be presented to the court on Dec. 21.

So, Livvix may be a Christian extremist from Texas. He could be a fugitive from Illinois. He may be mentally unstable. Or, he could also be a mentally unstable Christian Zionist extremist gun collector who was born in Texas and moved to Illinois, where he faces drug charges, then came to Israel to hide out and decided he had a mission to slaughter Arabs and provoke conflict if not, indeed, the Second Coming.

Or he may just be a guy with an interest in the military that manifested itself through his collection of needlessly powerful weapons and explosives.

The world should have a clearer idea after December 21, when the court decides whether or not Livvix will remain in custody. But however it plays out, the case is one more illustration of how much craziness there is in the Middle East and, potentially, how dangerous that can be.