As vigils held, murder victim’s mother asks public to ‘add light to world’
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As vigils held, murder victim’s mother asks public to ‘add light to world’

Memorials draw hundreds from Tekoa to Tel Aviv; Na’ah Ansbacher says Ori ‘wanted to be compassionate toward realities that were difficult for her, with people who were hard on her’

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

  • Na'ah Ansbacher, mother of murder victim Ori, speaks to reporters outside her home in the Tekoa settlement on February 9, 2019. (Screen capture/YouTube)
    Na'ah Ansbacher, mother of murder victim Ori, speaks to reporters outside her home in the Tekoa settlement on February 9, 2019. (Screen capture/YouTube)
  • Ori Ansbacher (Courtesy)
    Ori Ansbacher (Courtesy)
  • Israelis light candles in memory of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Zion Square in Jerusalem, on February 9, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Israelis light candles in memory of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Zion Square in Jerusalem, on February 9, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
  • Israelis light candles in memory of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, on February 9, 2019.  (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
    Israelis light candles in memory of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, on February 9, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
  • Right-wing politician Moshe Feiglin speaks during a demonstration held following the murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, on February 9, 2019.  (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
    Right-wing politician Moshe Feiglin speaks during a demonstration held following the murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, on February 9, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
  • Israelis rallying in Hebron against the murder of Ori Ansbacher on February 9, 2019. (Courtesy: Elimelech Karzan)
    Israelis rallying in Hebron against the murder of Ori Ansbacher on February 9, 2019. (Courtesy: Elimelech Karzan)
  • Israelis light candles in memory of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Zion Square in Jerusalem, on February 9, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
    Israelis light candles in memory of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Zion Square in Jerusalem, on February 9, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The mother of Ori Ansbacher on Saturday called on the public to carry out acts of kindness in order “to add light to the world” in memory of her daughter, who was brutally murdered in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Na’ah Ansbacher spoke to reporters outside her home in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa, where she gave her first public statement since security forces captured the Palestinian suspect in the killing of her 19-year-old daughter.

As she spoke, rallies in memory of Ansbacher were taking place in Tekoa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Hebron Saturday night, as the murder continued to send shockwaves through the country.

Ansbacher was found dead in the woods at the Ein Yael nature center in south Jerusalem late Thursday, with what police said were “signs of violence,” after she was reported missing earlier in the day. She was laid to rest in Tekoa on Friday.

Israelis light candles in memory of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Zion Square in Jerusalem, on February 9, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“I ask from those who are listening to us and for whom our words are entering their hearts, to do one small thing to add light to the world — one act of kindness and maybe we will preserve Ori’s [soul] in the world and maybe we will have some comfort by adding light to the world,” said Na’ah Ansbacher, referring to her daughter’s name, which means “my light” in Hebrew.

“It’s important for us that the world know who Ori was,” she said. “Ori was a child of light, adding so much light in the world. She cured broken hearts wherever she went, be it with her girlfriends, the boys and girls she worked with in her national [volunteer] service, even people she did not know.

Ori Ansbacher. (Courtesy)

“Sometimes when I spoke with her I felt that it was not a conversation between a mother and a daughter, but that she was my teacher,” Na’ah Ansbacher added. “Recently she talked a lot about compassion — that she wanted to be compassionate toward realities that were difficult for her, with people who were hard on her.”

Na’ah Ansbacher said that her daughter had been a poet whose work “brought expression to who she was in the world.”

“Ori taught us to marvel at the sunrise, the sunset, the blooming, the sun, the rain, the world,” she said.

In Jerusalem, mourners gathered at Zion Square in the center of the city to light candles and sing songs in memory of Ansbacher.

In Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, several hundred people, including some far-right politicians, held a rally to protest the killing. Demonstrators held signs reading “Jewish blood is not worthless.”

Right-wing politician Moshe Feiglin speaks during a demonstration held following the murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher, in Rabin Square, Tel Aviv, on February 9, 2019. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

In Tekoa, a settlement of some 3,000 people southeast of Jerusalem, several dozen people gathered at a central traffic circle to hold a vigil in memory of Ansbacher.

And in Hebron, dozens of people chanted “we will not be silent” outside the home of Arafat Irfaiya, 29,  who was arrested Friday as the prime suspect in the murder.

Israelis rallying in Hebron against the murder of Ori Ansbacher on February 9, 2019. (Courtesy: Elimelech Karzan)

According to a police and Shin Bet statement Saturday, citing Irfaiya’s account under questioning, the suspect,  left his home in Hebron on Thursday armed with a knife and made his way toward Jerusalem, where he spotted the Israeli teen in the woods and fatally attacked her.

The motive for the murder is still being investigated, the Shin Bet said, amid speculation the attack was “nationalistic,” a term generally used to describe Palestinian terrorism.

Irfaiya did not know Ansbacher, the Shin Bet said.

Ynet reported that Irfaiya is affiliated with the Hamas terror group.

“The interrogation of the suspect is ongoing and is focused, in particular, on the motives for the murder,” the Shin Bet statement read.

Irfayia had previously served time for being in Israel illegally and for possession of a knife, Channel 13 reported.

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