The Jerusalem District Court sentenced Eliran Malul to life in prison on Sunday for the 2019 murder of his wife Michal Sela, whom he stabbed nearly a dozen times in front of their baby daughter.
Malul was also ordered to pay NIS 258,000 ($81,850) in damages to his daughter. He was convicted in October of aggravated murder.
Handing down the sentence, the presiding judge said, “Unfortunately, domestic violence incidents occur too often, too often. It is to be hoped that growing public awareness will contribute to authorities’ determination” to end such incidents.
At the sentencing, Malul asked to speak and said he wanted to apologize to his wife’s parents because “they lost that which is most dear to them.
“And to you, my daughter, it pains me that you grew up in this tragedy, but I am sure you will have the strength to flourish and grow,” Malul said, lamenting that he was unable to turn back the clock.
Sela’s sister Lili Ben Ami responded, saying, “You destroyed your daughter’s life; that doesn’t move you at all — the only thing you care about is your own reputation.
“No one will ever forget what you did to Michal and your daughter, and she will never be your daughter,” Ben Ami said, noting that by law he no longer had guardianship over the girl, who was eight months old at the time of the murder.
Ben Ami told the court of her family’s suffering since the murder.
“When Michal was murdered, the sky fell,” she said.
She said her sister Liat and her partner Yarden have been taking care of the baby girl. “Even more than a year after the murder, the baby still wakes up at night and calls for her mother,” Ben Ami said.
Ahead of the sentencing, Ruthi Eldad, an attorney representing Sela’s family, explained in a statement that even though the life sentence was compulsory for the conviction of murder under aggravated circumstances, “the family sees a need to bring before the court their suffering as a result of the horrific murder, the damage caused to them and the dire impact of his actions on the lives of all the family members. ”
Malul was convicted of stabbing Sela 11 times in her upper body in their home in Motza, a Jerusalem suburb. The charge sheet against him said Malul acted “with particular cruelty in assaulting [Sela] in the presence of their baby daughter, injuring her in the head, dragging her and stabbing her in many areas of her upper body, as she attempted to defend herself with the last of her strength.”
Officials said the couple had experienced tension in their relationship, with Malul exhibiting jealousy and demanding that his wife cut ties with partners and friends from her past. She had on several occasions discussed with family and friends the possibility of leaving him.
According to investigators, on the night of the murder, October 3, 2019, at around 1 a.m., Malul struck Sela on the head while she was in their daughter’s bedroom. He then took a knife from the kitchen, dragged her out of the room and stabbed her repeatedly. She died shortly afterward due to loss of blood.
After killing Sela, Malul apparently attempted to take his own life, seriously injuring himself before heading over to the neighbors with the couple’s daughter to ask them to take care of her. The neighbors called emergency services.
He was taken to a hospital and was questioned by police while recovering from his injuries, though he was reported to have refused to cooperate.
Sela had worked as a social worker with at-risk youth in Jerusalem and it is thought she met her husband through that work.