Text size

A 59-year-old man was beaten to death as he attempted to protect his wife and daughter from a group of drunken youth on the beach at Tel Baruch late Friday night, police said.

Ten people have been arrested in connection to the murder of Aryeh Karp, of Ramat Gan. Police believe the assailants threw his body into the sea after the attack; he was found floating offshore early yesterday morning.

Eight of the suspects are Arab residents of Jaljulya, most of whom are cousins. The other two are Jewish women from nearby Kfar Sava and Petah Tikva. The women allegedly stood by and watched the attack, and had spent the evening with the men.

Police said the victim's wife, Sarah Karp, called them around midnight to report the attack. She, her husband, and their 24-year-old daughter Hila were sitting on a bench on the promenade of the northern Tel Aviv beach when a young man with an Arabic accent approached them and began to taunt Hila. Fearing that the man was going to attack Hila, the three attempted to leave. However, they were quickly surrounded by a group of young men who began to beat them, Sarah Karp said.

The men allegedly began to beat the family members with their fists, seriously bruising them, especially the father, on their torsos and faces.

The mother and daughter managed to break away from their assailants and fled northward on the beach promenade. At that point, they noticed the father was not with them.

The father managed to break free as well and apparently ran southward, leaving behind a trail of blood. However, the gang allegedly caught up with him and beat him unconscious. Police believe the group then threw Karp's body into the sea.

Police say another resident of Jaljulya, who was near the scene of the attack, gave Sarah Karp his cell phone to call for help.

Following the call, a large contingent of police began to search the area for the husband, initially working on the assumption that he had been injured and not killed.

Meanwhile, police began searching for the alleged attackers, who had fled. Evidence brought them to a forest near Rosh Ha'ayin, where some of the suspects were found drinking alcohol; the others were arrested at their homes in Jaljulya.

The grandfather of the arrested cousins said: "I utterly denounce this kind of violence. But it's hard for me to believe that our children were involved. They all work, they lack for nothing. They never fought with anyone and no one ever complained about them."

At 6:30 A.M., after a night of searches that involved mounted police, Border Police and volunteers as well as scent dogs, a marine police unit reported it had found Karp's body floating in the water near the Israel Electric Corporation's Reading plant, in North Tel Aviv, about 1.5 kilometers south of the scene of the attack.

The suspects reportedly admitted their connection to Karp's murder during their initial questioning. The teenage girl from Petah Tikva led police back to the scene, where she reconstructed the alleged attack.

"This is crazy," a neighbor of the Karp family said. "We walk on that beach at all hours of the day. We have daughters who live in the area. It's a crazy country."

The deputy head of the Yarkon District police, Commander Dor Gez, called the attack "thuggery for its own sake."

Tel Aviv District operations officer Commander Ilan Mor said the attack had occured at a relatively isolated place along the Tel Baruch promenade.

Government members also responded to the murder. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, that he was wanted "zero tolerance for crimes of this nature," and that he was concerned about the recent spate of murders. He instructed Aharonovitch to move quickly with the investigation, and to work with the State Prosecutor's Office to issue indictments.