18-year-old Yeshiva Dropout Stabbed to Death in Ashdod

Tensions in neighborhood 7 have been steadily mounting between the ultra-Orthodox community and formerly religious youth.

An 18-year-old resident of Ashdod was stabbed to death early Sunday morning after a scuffle with a friend. The victim, who has been identified as David Hadad, was reportedly found with stab wounds over his entire body.

stabbing - Haaretz - August 31 2010

The suspect, Eli Asor, who is also 18, was arrested immediately after the incident and the Kiryat Gat Magistrate's Court has extended his remand for eight days. Three other young men were also arrested on suspicion of helping Asor flee the scene; their remand was extended for three days.

For several months now, residents of Ashdod's Neighborhood 7 (also known as Rova Zayin ) - most of whom are ultra-Orthodox - have been asking the authorities and rabbis to help ease tensions there, which have been on the rise since the Haredi sector launched campaigns against what they refer to as "shababnikim" (yeshiva dropouts who hang out on the street ).

According to police, Hadad had been one of the leaders of a gang that instilled fear in residents. Police were already familiar with both Hadad and his suspected killer, Asor, thanks to their violent records.

"They are two boys who were neighbors and friends. Their families knew each other and they were also known to us due to a history of violence," police sources said. "They grew up in large families and dropped out of the yeshiva. They were not good students and we often heard their names mentioned in the context of those who were disturbing the ultra-Orthodox way of life in the neighborhood."

Dudu Hanuna, the Magen David medic on call at the time of the incident, said the crime scene he came upon was extremely difficult to take in.

"It's a very disturbing and shocking case. I've seen many cases throughout my life, but nothing like this," he recalled. "When I arrived, I saw a guy with stab wounds to his upper body, mostly to the abdomen. In the main artery of the leg I found another stab wound with massive bleeding. He started losing his pulse, lost consciousness and was given oxygen."

"This was a very distressing incident. I know both families," said Deputy Ashdod Mayor Amram Knafo. "It is a real tragedy, two families destroyed in a single night. I hope the entire population wakes up and grasps that this does not stop with boys roaming around with nothing to do. It is not merely a problem - it is also a very dangerous situation. Every parent should take responsibility for his or her children and find the framework best suited to them."

One neighbor related: "We were always worried that the situation would come to this, but what could we do? There are boys who don't study in yeshiva and just idle around all day - and then, unfortunately, this is what happens."