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'She was full of light, love; all cut short in an instant'

Husband of woman slain in apparent terror attack urges West Bank construction

Benjamin Horgen says success of family and entire Tal Menashe community is owed to his wife Esther, who was found dead in forest where she had gone for a run

Esther Horgen, 52, who was found dead in the northern West Bank in a suspected terror attack on December 20, 2020. (Courtesy)
Esther Horgen, 52, who was found dead in the northern West Bank in a suspected terror attack on December 20, 2020. (Courtesy)

The husband of an Israeli woman found dead in a northern West Bank forest called for an increase in settlement building and “an appropriate Zionist response” to the apparent terror attack.

“Esther raised a beautiful family and loved her grandchildren, and now they will have neither a mother nor a grandmother. Esther will be missed by us all, her family and everyone who knew her,” Benjamin Horgen told reporters outside his home in the Tal Menashe settlement.

His wife Esther, 52, a mother of six, had gone out for a run in the Reihan forest near their house Sunday afternoon and did not return, whereupon Benjamin called police. Her body was found overnight in the forest with signs of violence on it.

“Esther went out yesterday as she often did, to stroll through the nature that she loved so much around the settlement,” Benjamin Horgen said through tears. “She was so full of life, light and love for everyone, and all of that was cut short in an instant.”

Benjamin Horgen (L) speaks to reporters alongside Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan in the Tal Menashe settlement after his wife was killed in an apparent terror attack on December 21, 2020. (Screen capture/Channel 13)

“We attribute the great success of our family and community as a whole to her,” he continued, calling on the government to put forth “an appropriate Zionist response to the murder and to add [to settlement] construction and light for our children.”

Horgen’s funeral is to be held on Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Security forces are increasingly convinced that the death was a terror attack committed by a Palestinian assailant, officials said on Monday afternoon.

IDF troops were carrying out a manhunt in adjacent Palestinian towns where the attacker might have fled, the network said, adding that Horgen was killed with “great violence” on the “on the [pre-1967] seam line, but on the western side of it.”

Responding to the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that “security forces will apprehend the murderer as fast as possible and bring him to justice. I would like to send my deepest condolences to the family.”

Forensics and police officers at the scene where Esther Horgen was found dead in a forest in the northern West Bank, December 21, 2020 (Meir Vaknin/Flash90)

Security officials told reporters earlier Monday that investigators were considering the possibility that the killer could have been an Arab Israeli from the nearby Wadi Ara area.

The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, said that Horgen was killed with a large rock.

Police requested and received a court-issued gag order on Monday morning, barring media outlets from identifying the identities of any suspects or any other details of the investigation.

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