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70-year-old indicted for ‘brutal’ murder of wife day before divorce finalized

Ya’akov Ben Avraham is accused of stabbing his wife Yael over 50 times at their Herzliya home earlier this month amid a disagreement about the division of joint property

Ya'akov Ben Avraham, accused of murdering his wife a few weeks ago in Herzliya, seen on a screen via a video link during a court hearing at the Tel Aviv District Court, on November 30, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Ya'akov Ben Avraham, accused of murdering his wife a few weeks ago in Herzliya, seen on a screen via a video link during a court hearing at the Tel Aviv District Court, on November 30, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

A 70-year-old Herzliya resident was indicted Wednesday for the murder of his wife earlier this month, a day before the two were set to get divorced.

The indictment filed at the Tel Aviv District Court said Ya’akov Ben Avraham stabbed his wife Yael, 68, multiple times on November 1 at their Herzliya home amid a property dispute.

The two had been married for 35 years.

Recently, their relationship took a turn for the worse, the indictment said, with Yael seeking a divorce and asking Ya’akov to leave the family home on multiple occasions.

About a month ago, an argument erupted between them regarding the division of their joint property, the indictment said.

The day before she was killed, Yael told Ya’akov she would not sign an agreement they had previously reached for dividing the property, at which point Ya’akov decided to kill her, according to the indictment.

An undated photo of Yael Ben Avraham, 68 (Courtesy)

Yael was resting on the living room couch when Ya’akov grabbed a knife and stabbed her multiple times. As she defended herself, the knife he was using broke, the indictment said.

As Yael was trying to escape the apartment, Ya’akov grabbed a second knife and continued to stab her.

He stabbed her more than 50 times, according to the indictment, until she collapsed at the entrance to the apartment.

A neighbor who witnessed the incident through an apartment window tried to convince Ya’akov to stop, but his efforts proved futile.

The indictment noted that Ya’akov had tried to conceal evidence by washing the knives used in the stabbing.

“The deceased was murdered in a brutal manner,” prosecutor Ronit Hasson said during the court hearing.

“The defendant stabbed her over 50 times while she put up a fight and tried to escape to save her own life,” Hasson said. “Her attempts to exit the apartment and save herself were met with the defendant’s determination to kill her. He stabbed her time after time, even as she lay in her own blood, unable to move.”

Linoy Ben Avraham, 32, one of the couple’s daughters who was living with them at the time of the incident, was placed under house arrest earlier this month after police suspected she may have been an accomplice in her mother’s murder. Suspicion arose after Linoy gave interrogators contradicting accounts, police said.

She has since been released from house arrest but is still considered a suspect, according to Hebrew media. She denies any involvement.

During his interrogation, Ya’akov confessed to stabbing his wife to death and said he acted alone.

Appearing in court on Wednesday, Linoy’s sister Dana confronted her father via video and asked him in tears, “Dad, why?”

Speaking to the Ynet news site after the hearing, she said Ya’akov was a good father but that she could never forgive him.

“What’s been done cannot be undone. It was a brutal murder and I can’t forgive such a thing. He was a good father, I can say that, but to forgive him? That’s impossible,” she said.

“I’ve lost my entire family in one day,” she added.

Asked about her sister’s arrest, she said she believed Linoy had nothing to do with her mother’s death.

“I believe my sister and know that she’s crushed. All we have is each other,” she said.

Ya’akov Ben Avraham, accused of murdering his wife a few weeks ago in Herzliya, seen on a screen via a video link during a court hearing at the Tel Aviv District Court, on November 30, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Domestic violence in Israel is on the rise, according to figures released last week by the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry.

Data released earlier this month by the Knesset’s Information and Research Center, based on police data, showed that despite a rise in reports of domestic violence, there were fewer indictments. The data was based on police reports.

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