A man who confessed to killing his two children in order to torment his ex-wife was remanded for seven days by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court Thursday afternoon. The suspect has reportedly refused to undergo a psychiatric evaluation as recommended by the court and the state prosecutor assigned to his case.
The man appeared late Wednesday night at the police station in Ramle and told officers that he had murdered his two children, a boy and a girl who live with their mother in the United States. Emergency respondents dispatched to the man’s home in the nearby community of Yashresh found the two children with multiple stab wounds. Magen David Adom paramedics pronounced the two children dead at the scene.
The children, a 12-year-old girl and a boy, 10, had just arrived in Israel from the US earlier in the day. The mother and the children are dual US-Israeli citizens, and police informed the American embassy in Tel Aviv.
The court has imposed a gag order on the identity of the victims and the alleged killer.
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 mother was on her way to Israel on Thursday after having been informed of her children’s deaths.
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.
A family member told Ynet that the suspect “talked about the children’s visit and was very excited. They arrived yesterday and everyone was very happy. The children played with their cousins, we all ate dinner and didn’t see anything strange or distressing. We went home around 9:30 p.m., and two hours later we heard the worst possible news.”
The relative said that the suspect was normal and a good father until the divorce, when his “joy of life slowly diminished.”
Another relative said that at first, the ex-wife was obligated to bring the children three times a year to Israel, but that was reduced to just two visits a year, and the suspect would “all the time say that when the children weren’t here, his soul was not here… it seems to us that he thought he was getting revenge. He has destroyed the family.”
The man’s neighbor told Channel 10 that his mental health deteriorated after the court granted custody to the children’s mother. Other Yashresh residents said that he had seemed depressed in recent days.
According to initial reports, the father told police that he murdered the children “so that their mother’s life would be over.”
Lazar Berman contributed to this report.