The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended by seven days on Thursday the remand of a man suspected of killing his wife last month and attempting to pass off her death as a suicide.
Details of the investigation into Guy Shapiro, 48, and the death of his wife, Rachel, 55, were permitted for publication after the court lifted a gag order on the case.
Shapiro, a former IDF officer, was seriously injured when he shot himself in the head in front of police officers who were about to arrest him, but has since recovered enough to confess to the crime and reenact it for police.
According to court papers, police allege that on September 19 Shapiro strangled Rachel to death because she had told him she was leaving him and wanted a divorce.
Investigators say he moved her body to the bath at their home in Ma’ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, and slit her wrists in a bid to make it seem as though she had killed herself. He then called the Magen David Adom ambulance service, claiming he had returned home after taking their son, 14, to school, and found his wife dead in the bath.
MDA paramedics who arrived at the scene alerted police to an incident of suicide. Officers and forensic teams examined the home for clues and Rachel’s body was sent to the Abu Khabir institute for an autopsy. The results of the autopsy showed that strangulation was the cause of death and police opened a covert investigation.
Rachel was later given a funeral, attended by Shapiro, who reportedly read out a farewell letter over the grave.
When police summoned Shapiro for questioning two days after the killing, he instead fled to the south of the country. Officers located him using his cellphone signal and gave chase when he refused to stop his car. The vehicle was eventually brought to a halt at a police roadblock that laid down a spike strip puncturing the car’s tires.
Shapiro emerged from the car armed with a licensed pistol, and as officers approached, he shot himself in the mouth, with the bullet passing through his neck, causing serious injuries.
He was rushed to the hospital in Beersheba and gained consciousness a week later. Shapiro then confessed to killing his wife and reenacted the incident for police.
Idan Gamlieli, an attorney with the public defender’s office who is representing Shapiro, said his client had not intended to kill his wife and was cooperating with police.
“We are waiting till the end of the investigation,” Gamlieli said.
Rachel Shapiro worked for the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. She also had six children from a previous marriage.
Activists have long complained that not enough is done to prevent instances of domestic violence in Israel. In July, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered NIS 55 million ($17 million) be immediately allotted to efforts to prevent and treat the issue of domestic violence.
The money has been earmarked to partially fund the Welfare Ministry’s National Plan for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, which was approved in 2017 but had seen less than half the designated funds transferred for its implementation.
A June report from the state comptroller found that inadequate funding and chaotic policies for identifying and dealing with domestic violence are hampering efforts to curb the issue. In 2019, five women were murdered by their partners while last year the figure jumped to 13, the report said.