Gabriel Cadis, a senior figure in Jaffas Christian community was stabbed to death on Friday evening, during festivities at the St. George Church in Jaffa.
Cadis, who served as head of the Orthodox Church Association in Jaffa, was taken to Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, but succumbed to his injuries very quickly.
Jaffa residents described Cadis' death as as "an earthquake".
According to initial reports, those participating in a carnival left St. George's Church for their homes at around 18:30. Cadis, who was walking in the street, felt a sharp stab to his back. Witnesses said that he told those around him that he had been stabbed. He then fell to the floor and witnesses say they saw a red blood stain on his back.
Gabriel Cadis was an important local figure, who was involved in local Jaffa politics. Those close to him say that he was not involved in any disagreements with anyone, and that he at no time feared to walk alone in Jaffa.
Cadis had attended Friday prayers with a nearby Muslim community earlier in the day to show empathy after police had confiscated the mosque's loudspeaker system following neighbors' complaints. At the end of the prayer service, Cadis said, "Today it's loudspeakers, tomorrow it will be the church bells," according to Jaffa resident and Tel Aviv City Council member Ahmed Masharawi (Meretz).
Later, Cadis led a celebratory march with the Orthodox Christian community in light of the Christmas holiday, which, for that community, is on January 7. "For Orthodox [Christians], today is Christmas Eve; the most holy day of the year. Everyone is wearing joyful holiday attire, everything is red, a carnival," said Masharawi.
Hundreds of people participated in the march. At the end of the march Cadis made a speech, descended from the stage and walked toward his car. "There were many people dressed in Christmas clothing. You could not recognize them because it was dark. I walked 20 meters ahead and then, outside Tara Sante, (a private Arab school in Jaffa), he was stabbed," added Masharawi.
Israel police, including the commander of the Tel Aviv district, arrived on the scene and have opened an investigation.
Police Commander David Gaz said that the stabbing may have been caused by a business disagreement.