Palestinian charged with rape and murder of Israeli teen Ori Ansbacher

Court withholds most details of the crime, but says Arafat Irfaiya attacked 19-year-old with ‘violent cruelty’; IDF preparing to demolish family’s Hebron home

Arafat Irfaiya at the Jerusalem District Court on March 7, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Arafat Irfaiya at the Jerusalem District Court on March 7, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The suspect in the rape and murder of Israeli teen Ori Ansbacher was charged Thursday at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

Arafat Irfaiya, a 29-year-old resident of Hebron, was charged with rape and murder in the context of a terrorist act, for brutally attacking 19-year-old Ansbacher in a Jerusalem forest on the evening of February 7.

The legal proceedings will resume at a later date. The court remanded him in custody until March 17.

According to the indictment, Irfaiya entered Israel from the West Bank illegally in early February armed with a knife.

“He came across Ansbacher and decided to kill her because she was Jewish,” the charge sheet said. “He attacked Ori with violent cruelty, and though she tried to fight him off, he overpowered her. He stabbed her with a knife multiple times throughout her body, causing her death.”

The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s office said no further details about Ansbacher’s murder would be revealed.

During the hearing, state prosecutors presented the court with evidence against Irfaiya, including his DNA that was found on the murder weapon and at the crime scene. Prosecutors also told the court that during his interrogation, Irfaiya revealed details about Ansbacher that implicated him in her murder.

Ori Ansbacher, who was murdered in Jerusalem February 7, 2019 (Courtesy)

Last month, the Shin Bet security service announced that the murder was a terror attack, saying Irfaiya reenacted the murder of Ansbacher in front of interrogators and “implicated himself definitively in the incident.”

According to a Channel 12 news report, Irfaiya told interrogators that he entered Israel and looked for a Jewish victim because he wanted to be a “martyr.”

“I entered Israel with a knife because I wanted to become a martyr and murder a Jew,” he told investigators according to a Channel 12 report. “I met the girl by chance.”

According to the report, Irfaiya told investigators he did not plan much of the attack in advance aside from purchasing a kippa so that he could slip into Israel undetected.

On the day of the killing Ansbacher, who was a volunteer at a youth center in the capital, went for a walk in a woodland at Ein Yael to the south of Jerusalem.

Irfaiya told investigators he encountered Ansbacher sitting on a rock, writing in a notebook, and decided he would have sex with her “whether she agreed to it, or not.”

A spokesman for the Shin Bet previously said Irfaiya had spent time in prison for security-related offenses and that he had crossed into Israel without a permit before carrying out the murder. Hebrew media reported that he is affiliated with Hamas, but the terror group has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

Israeli troops measure the Hebron home of a Palestinian man suspected of murdering Ori Ansbacher in Jerusaelm, on February 10, 2019. (Israel Defense Forces)

Ansbacher’s murder sparked outrage across Israel and prompted the government to approve implementing a law under which Israel will deduct from tax revenues it collects on behalf of Palestinians the amount the Palestinian Authority pays out to attackers and their families.

Irfaiya’s indictment came a day after the IDF informed his family of the impending demolition of their Hebron home. The military mapped out the home for demolition and told the family they were allowed to appeal the demolition order at the High Court of Justice.

Though controversial, Israeli authorities defend home demolitions as a deterrent against future terror attacks. Critics say the move amounts to collective punishment and is ineffective.

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