> Israel > Israel Diary

Horrific Murder in Jerusalem

February 10, 2019 | by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller

Ori Ansbacher’s brutal murder by an Arab terrorist has been ignored by much of the world’s press.

Nineteen-year-old Ori Ansbacher was a young Orthodox Jewish girl who was completing a year of compulsory national service in Israel, working with children in a youth center in Jerusalem. On Thursday, February 7, she had a break in her schedule and decided to take a walk in Ein Yael, a popular, pretty park in western Jerusalem next to the Jerusalem Zoo. The wooded park is often teeming with visitors, but this weekday it was relatively quiet.

Tragically, she was not alone: an Arab terrorist was waiting in the park, intent on murder. Arafat Irfaiya is a 29 year old from the Hebron area who’s been arrested for possession of weapons twice before. Israeli police have identified him as an adherent of the Hamas terror movement. Earlier that day, he left his home armed with a knife, seemingly intent on killing Jews. He took a bus to an area near Jerusalem, then walked the park where Ori was strolling. When he encountered the teenager, he stabbed her repeatedly and performed a despicably violent crime, then fled, leaving her disfigured body in the park for passersby to find.

Israelis were aghast. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the “shocking brutality” of Ori’s murder. The whole country came together to mourn this young woman. Yet her death was barely reported outside of Israel.

Some newspapers’ hesitation might be explained by a gag order the Israeli police placed on the case Thursday night, as they pursued leads in Ori’s murder. Yet they lifted much of the gag order the very next morning, Friday, February 8, when they released Ori’s name and some of the details of her death. On Friday, Ori was laid to rest in her hometown of Tekoa; hundreds of people attended her funeral. Ori’s parents, Rabbi Gai and Na’ah Ansbacher, described Ori as “a holy soul who sought deep meaning and had a sensitivity for each person and living thing. She had an endless desire to repair the world in goodness.” They recalled the many poems that Ori wrote, and which are now all they have left to remember their daughter.

Though Ori’s death and the hunt for her killer were consuming Israel, the world’s media continued to stay away.

Two days after the attack, Israeli troops searched two apartment buildings in the West Bank town of Ramallah, home to Palestinian Authority headquarters. When Israeli soldiers entered the town, a riot ensued, as residents lobbed pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails and chunks of concrete and the Israelis. Eventually, the troops found Irfayia hiding inside the Jamal Abdel-Nasser Mosque, where he was employed. He’d been identified as Ori’s killer by DNA he’d left at the scene. His arrest - and the riot that greeted it - was reported by the official Palestinian Authority news outlet. It blanketed news coverage in Israel. Yet even then, much of the world’s media failed to report on what is one of the most horrifying terror attacks in Israel in recent times.

Hours after Irfayia’s arrest, neither the New York Times, Fox News or Britain’s Guardian newspaper put any news on their websites. No doubt as the story grows it will make its way into some international news reports, but initial reporting in the days after Ori’s murder was limited almost exclusively to Israeli and Jewish news sites.

This is tragic because neglecting news stories that humanize Israeli Jews and show the danger of terrorism that plagues the Jewish state paints a misleading picture of Israel and the challenges it faces. Perhaps if more people around the world heard about this terror attack, they might harbor more nuanced, informed views about Israelis and the challenges the country faces. It’s particularly ironic that Israel is so often in the news, yet when a major terror attack occurred, so many international news outlets were silent.

Ori Ansbacher’s mother called on the public to carry out acts of kindness in order “to add light to the world” in memory of her daughter whose name means “my light” in Hebrew.

“Ori was a child of light, adding so much light in the world. She cured broken hearts wherever she went, be it with her girlfriends, the boys and girls she worked with in her national [volunteer] service, even people she did not know,” Na’ah Ansbacher said.

“I ask from those who are listening to us and for whom our words are entering their hearts, to do one small thing to add light to the world — one act of kindness and maybe we will preserve Ori’s [soul] in the world and maybe we will have some comfort by adding light to the world.”

🤯 ⇐ That's you after reading our weekly email.

Our weekly email is chock full of interesting and relevant insights into Jewish history, food, philosophy, current events, holidays and more.
Sign up now. Impress your friends with how much you know.
We will never share your email address and you can unsubscribe in a single click.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram