Palestinian jailed for life plus 20 years for murder, rape of teen Ori Ansbacher

Arafat Irfaiya sexually assaulted then killed teen in forest near Jerusalem in 2019; judge at sentencing: ‘The poem of Ori’s life ended with a scream’

(L) Arafat Irfaiya at the Jerusalem District Court, January 29, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) and (R) Ori Ansbacher (Courtesy)
(L) Arafat Irfaiya at the Jerusalem District Court, January 29, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) and (R) Ori Ansbacher (Courtesy)

A Palestinian man on Sunday was sentenced to life imprisonment plus an additional 20 years for the rape and murder of Israeli teenager Ori Ansbacher in February 2019 in a Jerusalem forest.

Arafat Irfaiya had pleaded guilty at the Jerusalem District Court in June 2020 to the charges of first-degree murder, rape and unlawful killing with a terror motive over the attack on Ansbacher, 19, from the settlement of Tekoa.

Judge Rafi Carmel also ruled that Irfaiya pay NIS 250,000 (approximately $72,000) to Ansbacher’s family, and an additional NIS 75,000 ($22,000) to each of her parents and siblings.

“[Irfaiya’s] actions brought destruction to her family. This is an evil that has no place in our world. The poem of Ori’s life ended with a scream,” Carmel said. referring of the teen’s love of poetry.

“[Ansbacher] only did good to others, in comparison to the defendant, who took her life in a cruel way,” Carmel said, according to the Ynet news site.

While proceedings were delayed on a number of occasions, the Jerusalem district psychiatrist found Irfaiya to be responsible for his actions and fit to stand trial following an evaluation.

Arafat Irfaiya, charged with the rape and murder of 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher is brought for a hearing at the Jerusalem District court, on March 7, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The indictment against Irfaiya said he had entered Israel from the West Bank illegally armed with a knife.

According to a Channel 12 news report in 2019, Irfaiya told interrogators that he entered Israel and looked for a Jewish victim because he wanted to be a “martyr.”

According to the report, Irfaiya said 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 the woodland of Ein Yael on the southern edge of Jerusalem, encountering Irfaiya by chance.

“He came across Ansbacher and decided to kill her because she was Jewish,” the charge sheet stated. “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.”

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

During a court hearing shortly after the attack, 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.

Israeli security forces demolished his home in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The case generated shock and outrage across the country and prompted the government to approve the implementation of a law under which Israel would deduct from tax revenues it collects on behalf of Palestinians the amount that the Palestinian Authority pays out every month to Palestinian attackers and their families.

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