Tiberias man who brandished ex-wife’s head found ‘not sane’
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Tiberias man who brandished ex-wife’s head found ‘not sane’

Psychiatrists find that Meir Goldstein 'could not tell right from wrong' at the time of the murder and decapitation

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Meir Ephraim Goldstein, suspected of beheading his wife in burning her body in Tiberias, is seen at the Nazareth Magistrate's Court as he arrives for a hearing on March 30, 2017. (Flash90)
Meir Ephraim Goldstein, suspected of beheading his wife in burning her body in Tiberias, is seen at the Nazareth Magistrate's Court as he arrives for a hearing on March 30, 2017. (Flash90)

A Tiberias man who beheaded his ex-wife and paraded the severed head around the neighborhood after setting her body on fire was found to be “not sane,” according to a psychiatric evaluation submitted Monday to the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court.

The doctors who examined Meir Goldstein also concluded that he “could not tell right from wrong” at the time he killed his ex-wife, Adele Kalman.

“We received an additional opinion regarding the defendant’s mental state that…concluded he was not sane at the time of the offense,” said Golstein’s attorney Ephraim Dimri.

The court ordered him held under psychiatric care until further notice.

According to the indictment, Goldstein had asked to stop by his ex-wife’s apartment on March 29 to pick up some of his belongings. When Kalman went to the bathroom at the end of the visit, her ex-husband slammed the front door pretending to have left. But once she exited the bathroom, Meir proceeded to stab her repeatedly as she screamed for mercy.

The assailant then beheaded the victim, set the rest of her body on fire and left the apartment.

Meir Ephraim Goldstein, suspected of beheading his wife in burning her body in Tiberias, is seen at the Nazareth Magistrate's Court as he arrives for a hearing on March 30, 2017. (Flash90)
Meir Ephraim Goldstein, suspected of beheading his ex-wife in burning her body in Tiberias, is seen at the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court as he arrives for a hearing on March 30, 2017. (Flash90)

Goldstein was arrested after neighbors informed police that they saw a man wandering around the neighborhood in bloodstained clothes clutching a woman’s severed head under his arm.

Friends of the victim had related that Kalman had spoken of her relief over being divorced, but had also expressed fears that her ex-husband would harm her.

Following the arrest, Goldstein told investigators that after killing his former wife, he was now the messiah.

“God called to me and said to me, ‘This is the seed of Amalek and the Prophet Hezekiah did not cut off Amalek’s head and therefore did not earn the right to be the king messiah. Because I have chopped off the head of the seed of Amalek, I am acknowledged as the king messiah,” he said.

In biblical Jewish tradition, the nomadic Amalekite tribe came to be viewed as the essence of evil, and Jews were enjoined to eradicate it.

Police and paramedics at the scene of a suspected murder in the northern city of Tiberias, March 29, 2017. (MDA spokesperson)
Police and paramedics at the scene of a suspected murder in the northern city of Tiberias, March 29, 2017. (MDA spokesperson)

Shortly after Goldstein’s arrest, Dimri said that his client was refusing to explain his motives for the murder, but that in eight days — “the eight days of Hannukah,” according to Goldstein — a miracle will occur that will allow him to explain why he murdered his wife.

While the assailant underwent an initial psychiatric examination following his arrest, Dimri requested that his client undergo further examination.

Goldstein immigrated to Israel in 1991 from Moldova and was once hospitalized in a psychiatric facility.

Alexander Fulbright contributed to this report.

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