A man turned himself over to police Wednesday night after admitting to stabbing to death his two children, aged 10 and 11, at his home in a moshav near Ramle.
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The children, who had been living in the United States with their mother since their parents divorced, had come to spend the summer vacation with their father, who is from Moshav Yashresh.
They had arrived on Wednesday morning. That night, for no clear reason, the suspect allegedly tied the children up, stabbed them repeatedly and slit their throat. He left their bodies in his house, drove to the Ramle police station and told the duty officer, “I murdered my children,” police said.
The suspect was detained for questioning and his name was banned from publication. Wednesday morning the Rishon Letzion Magistrate’s Court extended his custody by one week.
The children’s bodies have not undergone an autopsy and it is not clear whether their mother is planning to come to Israel. The father’s neighbors in the moshav said the couple had divorced about two years ago, apparently after the man had beaten up his wife and children.
The mother had complained twice to the police of her husband’s violent attacks. After the divorce she moved with the children to the United States, where her family lives, and the children used to visit their father two to three times a year. Since the divorce there were no further complaints of violence on the man’s part, police said.
One of the suspect’s neighbors said he had difficulty dealing with the distance from his children and police believe this had something to do with the murder.
The suspect’s attorney, Ran Alon, said “he’s very pensive and withdrawn. It’s hard to get answers from him about what happened in those moments.”
A neighbor who was staying with the suspect to help him with the children and had been in the apartment until one hour before the murder said he had displayed no sign of stress and there was no indication of what was about to take place.
The judge considered sending the suspect for a psychiatric observation yesterday but the suspect insisted he was fit to stand trial. The judge instructed the police to keep him under full supervision out of fear that he might attempt to harm himself.
Over the past year, several children in Israel have been murdered by their parents. In September a man murdered his two children, aged 4 and 5, after apparently throwing them off the roof of a Tel Aviv apartment building. The father, Eli Gur, then jumped to his own death.
Two days earlier a Jerusalem woman, Karina Brill, was accused of slitting the throats of her two children, aged 8 and 6, and then trying to commit suicide. Two weeks before that a resident of Daburia village in the Galilee, Bashir Najar, shot his two daughters, aged 4 and 17, and his former wife to death before committing suicide.