'She was my angel, and now she has left,' says father

Woman found dead outside her home in Lod; neighbor arrested on suspicion of murder

Relatives say Lidar Swisa Yaffe complained suspect was harassing her, police did nothing; victim is first woman to be killed in 2023, amid worsening domestic violence epidemic

Lidar Yaffe Swisa in an undated photo. (Courtesy; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Lidar Yaffe Swisa in an undated photo. (Courtesy; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A 33-year-old woman was found dead outside her apartment Wednesday morning in a residential building in the central city of Lod, with a male neighbor being arrested shortly thereafter on suspicion of murder, and relatives of the victim saying she had complained about him harassing her but police did nothing.

Lidar Swisa Yaffe is the first woman suspected to have been murdered in 2023, after 19 such homicides last year, which caused an outcry over a worsening epidemic of violence against women.

She was found with extensive stab wounds and without vital signs in the building’s staircase around 6 a.m., while her mother was waiting outside the building to take her for fertility treatment at a hospital, Hebrew media reported. Another neighbor and Magen David Adom paramedics tried to resuscitate her but eventually pronounced her death.

Police officers immediately started searching the area for suspects and eventually arrested the man, aged 41.

He was taken for questioning, with the Israel Police saying he would be brought before a judge to extend his remand.

But Swisa Yaffe’s relatives lamented that action hadn’t been taken against the neighbor sooner.

“She warned [about him], she told me she was afraid of him,” said her sister, Coral Mazuz. “He knocked on her door last week and she didn’t open the door. She called police and they told her to come to the station, but he was at the door. We never thought this would happen. We are in shock. Police should have taken him in a long time ago. They shouldn’t have waited for this to happen.”

The scene of a suspected murder in Lod, February 8, 2023. (Israel Police)

The victim’s father told Hebrew media that the suspect, who lived one floor below her, would cut off power and water in her apartment, or knock on her door and then run away, and that other neighbors in the building had also complained about him.

“My wife came to take her to fertility treatment and was waiting for her to come down. She saw someone with a hood running, saw a Magen David Adom team go in and she then called me,” said the father, who wasn’t named in the reports.

Dozens of shocked neighbors gathered outside the building, including Swisa Yaffe’s tearful parents.

“She is a rare kid, very special, likes to help everybody,” said her father. “She was my angel, and now she has left.”

Mazuz said: “She was the best sister in the world. She was the purest person.”

Domestic violence in Israel is on the rise, according to figures released in November by the Welfare and Social Affairs Ministry.

Numerous protests have been held over recent years over the way the government and authorities have been handling domestic violence, particularly in cases where the victims were already known to the authorities.

The coalition deal signed in late December between the Religious Zionism and Likud parties includes an agreement that Israel will not sign onto the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty intended to battle violence against women, with the far-right Religious Zionism claiming concerns over immigration implications.

Last week, the Knesset’s Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality held a discussion on the matter, with just one coalition member attending — Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har Melech, who arrived toward the end.

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