The Central District Court on Sunday convicted a man of strangling his former wife to death and then burying her body in a pit in the yard that he had arranged be dug in advance.
David Chaim, 62, was found guilty of all the charges against him in the 2018 murder of his ex-wife Ofira Chaim.
He was convicted of premeditated murder, obstructing justice and giving false information.
Several members of Ofira Chaim’s family were in court for the ruling.
“I accept the verdict,” her daughter Adiya told Ynet news. “Justice is beginning to come to light.”
“It will not atone for anything; he simply murdered her in cold blood, ” Ofira’s brother Aryeh told media.
Ofira Chaim, 56, a mother of three daughters, worked as a substitute teacher in a local school. Her body was found three weeks after she was murdered on June 20 2018.
The couple divorced in 2004 and divided the property in Tel Mond where they lived between them into two separate homes.
According to court papers, days in advance of the murder, David Chaim hired a foreign worker to dig a pit in Ofira’s yard while she was on a trip abroad. After her return he asked to speak with her about arranging better access from his home to that of a small living unit, adjacent to Ofira’s residence, where his mother lived. When she refused he pulled a nylon rope from his pocket and strangled her for ten minutes until she was dead.
He buried her in the pit, concealing her body. He then destroyed her phone, prosecutors said, cut up her credit cards, which he took from her bag, and disposed of the rope.
In the days that followed David told police he had no idea where his wife was and even offered to help search for her.
Police, who had strong suspicions that he was the culprit, continued to focus on David Chaim and he eventually confessed to the crime and reenacted it for investigators. Some details of the case were covered by a gag order.
David Chaim was convicted in 2005 for menacing behavior toward Ofira after threatening to physically harm one of her friends.
In 2002 he was convicted of assault and threatening behavior toward Ofira, at the time still his wife, and handed a seven-month suspended sentence as well as a fine of NIS 2,000 (approximately $550).
Sentencing hearings will begin on August 6, Channel 12 news reported. Due to the severity of the crime he is likely facing life imprisonment.
The killing was among a spate of domestic violence cases that have seen dozens of Israeli women murdered by their partners in recent years.
Thirteen Israeli women were murdered in 2019 by someone known to them. In 2018, 25 women were murdered in such incidents, the highest number in years, prompting a string of protests and calls for authorities to take action against the increasing rates of violence against women. Many of those women had filed police complaints prior to their deaths out of concern for their safety.