72-year-old Kiryat Shmona Man Bludgeons Wife, 70, to Death

Binyamin Avraham confesses to police that he killed his wife Yocheved, but gives no motive.

A Kiryat Shmona man bludgeoned his 70-year-old wife to death with a rock Sunday morning.

Binyamin Avraham, 72, confessed to police that he had killed his wife Yocheved, but gave no motive. However, neighbors suggested he had a history of assaulting her, and family members said she had complained to police two weeks ago.

The Acre Magistrate's Court remanded Avraham for nine days, and ordered he undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Police believe Avraham attended Tisha B'Av prayers at his synagogue early in the morning, then returned home. A short while later, around 7:30 A.M., he attacked his wife.

Bus driver Sasson Hemo was driving along the Avrahams' street after his shift when he heard people yelling for help.

"I ran into a yard. People said someone was killing his wife. I called the police. In the yard I saw the man totally crazed; I saw him leaning over her and beating her. I didn't know what he had in his hand. She looked dead already. I was in shock. He didn't shout and didn't say a word, just panted like an animal," Hemo said.

Hemo said he decided against using his licensed firearm to shoot the killer.

"What could I do, shoot him and go to jail? It was all a matter of seconds, and the police came pretty quickly. Two police officers pulled him off her by force."

An ambulance crew pronounced the woman dead.

The couple were veteran residents of Kiryat Shmona, originally from Kurdistan, and lived on a quiet street with private homes and gardens.

Some neighbors, who asked not to be named, described the victim as a submissive woman who put up with her husband's cruelty. Although violence was not mentioned, one neighbor said "they fought, he was like Goliath, and she so tiny." Another neighbor said, "He was tough on her."

Relatives claim the victim told police two weeks ago that her husband had assaulted her. After learning that her husband might be arrested, she decided not to file a complaint.

Police said they are looking into the matter.

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