Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has demanded the death penalty in the murder of Ori Ansbacher Hy”d, 19.
“The military prosecution needs to ask for the death penalty,” Shaked told Channel 13 following capture of the perpetrator.
Although police had initially refused to say whether they thought it was a terrorist attack, the Shin Bet said Sunday night that investigators had concluded that it was, based on statements made by the terrorist during interrogation.
“During the course of his interrogation, [the terrorist] reenacted the murder for Shin Bet and police interrogators, and clearly tied himself to the incident,” the Shin Bet said.
The terrorist, a 29-year-old Palestinian Arab, Arafat Arifaiyeh, was arrested in El Bireh, near Ramallah, confessed to the murder and reenacted it for the police.
According to a report released by the Shin Bet, Arifaiyeh left Chevron carrying a knife.
When he spotted Ansbacher in the forest, he killed her and fled.
Earlier in the day, prior to the Shin Bet statement, Shaked and other ministers were calling it a terror attack.
“We should not hide the truth,” she told the news channel. “He killed Ori because she was a Jewish girl.”
Ansbacher, from Tekoa, south of Yerushalayim, was found stabbed to death in the woods at the Ein Yael nature center in the southern part of the capital late Thursday.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said: “When a Palestinian in Israel murders a Jew in the State of Israel, there is no doubt that it needs to be considered as nationalistic murder,” he told Channel 13. “It does not matter what he says or doesn’t say in the interrogation. I hope the relevant authorities understand this and if not, we need to legislate it.”
The death penalty has only been carried out only once in Israeli history, in 1962 in the case of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Holocaust. It is technically allowed in certain extremely grave crimes, requiring a unanimous decision of a panel of three judges.
Legislation that would have expanded the death penalty to cover terrorist crimes was stalled in parliamentary wrangling last year.
Security officials, including Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman, have opposed it. Argaman called it “unhelpful” in testimony before a Knesset panel in November.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who as defense minister oversees the military prosecution, which has authority to implement the death penalty, backed the death penalty bill in November. He also called for the death penalty after a 2017 terror attack in which several members of a family were killed in their home in Halamish.