Vandals deface West Bank monument for Israeli couple slain in 2015 terror attack

Apparent hate crime against memorial for Eitam and Naama Henkin follows month of attacks carried out against Palestinian property

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Monument for Eitam and Naama Henkin who were killed in a 2015 drive-by terror attack is found vandalized on April 30, 2018. (Yedidya Asraf)
Monument for Eitam and Naama Henkin who were killed in a 2015 drive-by terror attack is found vandalized on April 30, 2018. (Yedidya Asraf)

Police opened an investigation Monday into the defacement of a northern West Bank roadside monument erected in memory of an Israeli couple murdered in a 2015 terror attack.

Authorities on Monday arrived at the scene on Route 555 between the settlements of Itamar and Elon Moreh to find the stone memorial knocked over and tarnished with a black tar-like substance.

The monument had been erected at the exact intersection where Eitam and Naama Henkin were gunned down by a Hamas terror cell in October 2015.

The couple had been driving home with their four young children when the five-member squad ambushed their vehicle. The parents were fatally shot in front of their children, who survived the attack unharmed.

Eitam Henkin and Naama Henkin of Neria, who were murdered in a drive-by terror attack near Nablus on Thursday, October 1, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

Detained minor remains Shin Bet’s lone lead in fight against far-right crime

Monday’s apparent hate crime comes at the conclusion of a month marred by attacks carried out against Palestinians and their property.

The most recent was uncovered Sunday in the central West Bank Palestinian village of Turmus Ayya, where tires were slashed and Hebrew hate slogans were graffitied throughout the town. The attack was the 14th apparent hate crime against Palestinians reported in April, which saw the villages of UrifDeir Ammar, JaludRamun, Beit Iksa, Burqa, Burin, As-Sawiya and Luban a-Sharqiya, Aqraba, and Fara’ata targeted.

Israeli settlers also suffered property damage last week in an attack that they blamed on Palestinians. Police said they had opened an investigation after some 150 grapevines in a vineyard belonging to a resident of the Jordan Valley settlement of Tomer were chopped down overnight.

Police have carried out one arrest against a far-right Israeli teen last week, but the crime he is suspected of carrying out took place in East Jerusalem two months ago; and he is not believed to have been directly involved in the April spate of attacks across the West Bank.

However, according to a Monday Haaretz report, the Shin Bet security service views the 15-year-old as a key to tracking down the other culprits responsible for the near daily attacks of the past two weeks.

The Shin Bet views the recent spate of so-called “price tag” attacks as having been carried out by a new, younger group of teens around the ages of 14 and 15, similar to the well-known far-right activist who was arrested last week.

The minor, whose name has been barred from publication, was nabbed in a covert police operation, which saw officers infiltrate the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar dressed as religious settlers.

He was released later that day after being questioned on suspicion of assaulting a police officer earlier this year, only to be detained once again on suspicion of carrying out the price tag attack in East Jerusalem.

The minor’s attorney from the Honenu legal aid organization said he was prevented from seeing his client for several days and that when he finally was granted a meeting, the teen confided to having been harassed by officers in an effort to garner a confession.

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