The Search for Rose / A Family With a History of Abuse

The neglect and abuse that led to the apparent murder of Rose Pizem by her grandfather Ronny Ron seem to have been endemic in the family, as arises from the story of Ronny Ron's sister, Sigalit Kirschner.

In an unrelated incident, Kirschner was murdered along with her husband Dudi Katzstecher in July, two weeks after the couple married. She accused her family of abusing her as a child, and had been estranged from them for more than 25 years.

"Mom left her family in Netanya when she was 17," Ziv Kirschner, Sigalit Kirschner's eldest son from her first marriage, told Haaretz yesterday. "Ronny was neither at the funeral nor at the shiva, and I've only seen him once or twice."

Meanwhile, neighbors of the Ron family who knew Sigalit Kirschner as a child were surprised to hear she had been murdered. They said that as a child, Kirschner had been neglected by her mother, Vivien Yaakov, and had even complained that she had been sexually assaulted, a claim the neighbors said was never investigated. "She severed ties with them because she had a difficult family life," they said. "She was the sweetest girl in the world. [Her mother] Vivien didn't sit shiva for her or tell us [that she died.]"

Shortly before he died, Sigalit's father, Yehezkel Yaakov, went to see his daughter and ask for forgiveness for the abuse she suffered as a child. "Mom was like a slave in that house," Ziv Kirschner said. "Vivien and Ronny abused her, so she had to run away. She served in the army and then built herself a life without outside support. Got married, had children and educated us."

Sigalit Kirschner and Katzstecher were murdered only two weeks after their wedding by security guard Erez Ben Ezra, who had encountered financial difficulties. Ben Ezra asked Katzstecher, a taxi driver, to drive him to a rabbi's grave near Safed. On the way, he killed Katzstecher and his wife, who had accompanied him, near the town of Kadita and stole NIS 600. Police matched the bullets at the scene of the crime with Ben Ezra's gun. Two days after the murder, with the police on his trail, Ben Ezra committed suicide.

"Luckily, she separated from her family and had us," Ziv Kirschner said yesterday. "I still can't understand why someone would murder for NIS 600, but killing a little girl for no apparent reason is even more brutal."