A farmer beaten to death by Palestinians in central Israel last month was the victim of a botched robbery, not a terror attack, police and Shin Bet said on Thursday.
David Bar-Kapara, 70, a resident of Rehovot, was discovered June 24 in his vineyard near Pedaya in serious condition, with signs of violence on his body. He later succumbed to his injuries.
Two suspects were arrested a day after the attack by the Shin Bet security agency and police. The two, Mujahad Dar Asi and A’ala Dar Asi, cousins from the West Bank village of Beit Lakiya, were in Israel illegally at the time of the attack. The suspects were in custody since the killing, and were expected to attend a hearing on Thursday on extending their remand.
The prosecution was planning to file an indictment against the two men for the killing.
According to Hebrew media reports, the suspects had targeted Bar-Kapara for his money. Mujahad had worked for the farmer, but left the position some two months before the attack. On the morning of June 24, they confronted Bar-Kapara and demanded he hand over money, working under the assumption that the vineyard owner was carrying large amounts of cash.
When Bar-Kapara was found not to have any money on him, the two men beat him up, leaving him badly hurt. Other agricultural workers who witnessed the attack alerted the police and called an ambulance. Bar-Kapara was pronounced dead several hours later in a nearby hospital.
The victim’s family on Thursday maintained that Bar-Kapara was killed for nationalistic motives, and rejected the findings. They said they would not give up until the truth about the attack came to light, Army Radio reported.
The Shin Bet, while maintaining that the motives of the attack were criminal, said the two suspects had a history of involvement in terror activities.
“The brutal killing by the two was carried out against a backdrop of a robbery gone wrong,” it said in a statement. “With that, in this context, it must be taken into account that the two killers were involved in past grassroots terror activity, as well as the atmosphere of attacks during the current Ramadan.”