The parents of a 19-year-old whose battered body was discovered in a Lower Galilee parking lot in early May said Monday they believed their daughter’s murder was a terror attack, despite statements by a leading defense official that the motive for the killing was inconclusive.
“My daughter’s murder was nationalistically motivated, and I won’t accept anything else,” Yaakov Dadon said of his daughter Shelley, during a press conference from the family’s Afula home. “[She was] a girl who never hurt anyone, and now the entire family is broken.”
Dadon was found stabbed to death on May 1 in a parking lot in the nearby town of Migdal Ha’emek, after leaving home to interview for a job.
Following a briefing by police chief Yohanan Danino on developments in the murder investigation, Dadon’s family announced it would be sending a letter to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Danino, Shin Bet security service chief Yoram Cohen and northern district police chief Zohar Dvir, demanding that they recognize the murder as a terror attack.
“We demand that you announce publicly that the background and motivate for the despicable murder is nationalistic,” the family wrote in the letter.
Officials initially said they believed the killing was nationalistically motivated, but later walked back the statements, saying only that they were still searching for a motive.
In mid-June, a gag order on the murder investigation was partially lifted, revealing that six Israeli-Arab suspects — some of them minors — were arrested in connection with the case and later released. While the interrogations yielded no developments, the investigation then found a separate lead, but information about it remained under a court order.
Insisting that his daughter was “from a good home,” Dadon urged the authorities to continue investigating her death.
In May, Aharonovitch said Shelley Dadon’s murder may have been criminally motivated and not a terror attack as previously suspected. Aharonovitch said that it was not clear if Dadon had been killed in a act of terror because she was a Jew. He added that the investigation was still ongoing.
“All avenues of investigation are being checked and the investigation is progressing,” Aharanovitch said of the murder. “It is still not possible to determine with certainty that the murder was nationalistic.”
The six detainees who were released denied their involvement in the killing after being arrested on May 4. One of the minors was released on May 15; two days later the remaining suspects were freed, the Haaretz newapaper reported.
The murder ignited passions in Afula, where a protest calling to stiffen penalties against murderers drew over 2,000 people.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.