The bodies of two children who were murdered by their father last Wednesday in the central Israeli village of Yashresh were flown to the US early Tuesday for burial.
The children’s funeral is expected to take place Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, and will be facilitated by the Torat Emet congregation, of which the children’s mother is a member.
The son and daughter, 14 and 10, were stabbed to death Wednesday evening shortly after arriving in Israel for a visit with their father.
The father admitted to police he killed the kids, reportedly to torment his ex-wife.
According to initial reports, the father told police that he murdered the children “so that their mother’s life would be over.”
The court has imposed a gag order on the identity of the victims and the alleged killer.
The mother and the children are dual US-Israeli citizens.
The Jewish Federation of Columbus reportedly made the legal arrangements to have the bodies brought back to Ohio for burial and arranged for grief counseling for the children’s family, school friends and neighbors, Gordon Hecker, the president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, told the Columbus Dispatch.
“We’re all grieving. Our entire community is grieving,” Rabbi Avi Goldstein of the Beth Jacob Congregation told the Dispatch. “The Jewish community is one big family, and we come together for each other at all times and especially at a time like this.”
Domestic violence complaints were lodged against the father in 2005 and in 2009, before the couple divorced. The wife had also spent time in a battered women’s shelter before the divorce was finalized.
The ex-wife gained main custody of the children and, because the husband could not provide child support, decided to move to the US, the Ynet news site reported. The suspect was unsuccessful in fighting his ex-wife’s intention to leave the country but succeeded in securing twice-yearly visits.
While searching the man’s residence, police discovered a journal in which the suspect had “obsessively” recorded his feelings and actions, especially in regard to his ex-wife, the Walla news site quoted police as saying.
The small community of Yashresh, where the suspect was raised and still lived in a house next to his parents, and where the couple had lived when they were together, was reportedly reeling from the incident. A team of psychologists and other professionals were dispatched to the community to help residents, especially the local children, most of whom had grown up with the victims.
JTA contributed to this report.