PM denounces brutal killing, vows to find those responsible

‘The heart breaks’: Hundreds mourn Ori Ansbacher, 19, murdered in Jerusalem

Ansbacher, from the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, was found dead Thursday evening; PM vows killer will be brought to justice; court imposes gag order on investigation

Friends and relatives attend the funeral of Ori Ansbacher, in the ettlement of Tekoa, February 8, 2019 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Friends and relatives attend the funeral of Ori Ansbacher, in the ettlement of Tekoa, February 8, 2019 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hundreds of mourners attended on Friday the funeral of Ori Ansbacher, 19, whose body was found a day earlier on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The funeral was held in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, where Ansbacher lived.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on the murder, saying Ansbacher was killed “with shocking brutality.”

“At this difficult hour we all embrace the Ansbacher family and the people of Tekoa. The security forces are investigating the murder — we will find those responsible for it, and we will bring the matter to justice,” the prime minister pledged.

President Reuven Rivlin sent a message of condolence to the victim’s family, saying “the heart breaks at the loss of life.”

Friends and relatives attend the funeral of Ori Ansbacher, in the Jewish settlement of Tekoa, February 8, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ansbacher’s sister, Tama, eulogized Ori to the gathered mourners. “Last Saturday you said that you do not believe that you will be 20 years old at the end of the year, and now you have gone. You taught me so much — to sing, to dance with all your light. All the time you tried to fix things and to grow. I love you so much and I’m sorry I didn’t always tell you that, goodbye Ori,” she said.

Ansbacher’s father, Rabbi Gadi Ansbacher, tearfully told mourners that he was at a loss for words.

Friends and relatives attend the funeral of Ori Ansbacher, in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, February 8, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“I do not believe it, I do not know what to say. I think about you now – how you saw everything so sharp and clearly. In the last year you did it, Ori, you won. You lived a whole life,” he said.

Ansbacher’s body was found Thursday evening with “signs of violence” in woodland at Ein Yael, located south of Jerusalem, police said. She had been reported missing since the morning.

Ynet reported she had left her workplace distraught and told friends she was going to spend some time alone in nature. Channel 12 news said later that this information was of no relevance to the murder.

Ansbacher’s parents, Noa and Gadi, told Hebrew-language media their daughter was “a holy soul seeking meaning, with a sensitivity for every person and creature and an infinite desire to correct the world with goodness.”

One of her high school teachers told Channel 13 news that she was “a smart and honest girl with an original and creative intellectual openness. She cared for the environment and was sensitive to others.”

Israeli security forces search the scene where a body of a 19-year-old woman was found in Ein Yael, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, February 8, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli politicians from across the political spectrum also issued statements of condolence.

“My heart goes out to the Ansbacher family and the residents of Tekoa,” said Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff and head of the Israel Resilience Party. “I have faith that the security forces will arrest the heinous perpetrator and that the judicial system will bring him to justice,” he added.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Ansbacher’s murder had “rattled the entire country” and vowed everything would be done to find who was responsible. “My heart is with the members of the family dealing with this terrible tragedy,” he tweeted.

Labor Party’s leader Avi Gabbay said his “heart was torn” over the 19-year-old’s killing. “We send a hug to her family and friends and are confident the police and security forces will do everything in their power to find the murderer,” he said.

Ansbacher was carrying out a year of national service at a youth center in Jerusalem at the time of her death.

A court imposed a gag order on all details of the murder, which was being investigated by the police and the Shin Bet security service. The order was partially lifted Friday morning to allow identification of the victim.

Security forces at the scene where the body of a 19-year-old-woman was found in Ein Yael forest, near Jerusalem, February 7, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A police officer said investigators were “exploring all possible motives,” as a large number of police and Shin Bet personnel continued to search the area where Ansbacher was found.

Ein Yael lies between the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo and the West Bank village of Walaja.

“When we arrived at the scene we were taken to an open area where we saw the 19-year-old woman who was without a pulse and not breathing,” Magen David Adom medic Seffi Mizrahi told reporters, adding that “unfortunately all we could do was pronounce her dead.”

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