Afula Woman’s Murder Declared 'Terrorist Attack’

The Defense Ministry’s decision will entitle Shelly Dadon’s family to benefits of terror victims.

Gil Eliyahu

The murder of 20-year-old Shelly Dadon has been officially declared a terrorist attack, entitling her family to the benefits usually given victims of terror, the Defense Ministry announced on Monday.

Dadon, of Afula, was murdered in early May while en route to a job interview in Migdal Ha’emek. An Israeli Arab taxi driver, Hussein Khalifa, was charged with the crime earlier this month. But at the time, police said they were still uncertain whether the murder was a terror attack or an ordinary crime, and the indictment makes no mention of Khalifa’s motive.

Sources in the police’s Northern District said on Monday that since then, no new information has emerged to shed light on Khalifa’s motive.

In its announcement, however, the Defense Ministry said it made its decision after examining the police’s findings, “from which reasonable grounds emerge” for thinking Khalifa intended to commit a terror attack.

According to the indictment, Khalifa started out in the direction of the Ramat Gavriel industrial zone, where Dadon had requested him to take her. The two engaged in some conversation after she got into his taxi, but what passed between them remains unknown.

As they neared Dadon’s destination, Khalifa turned into a deserted parking lot nearby, for unknown reasons. At that point, Dadon began fearing for her safety and called a relative on her cell phone, whispering that she was “in a taxi – one of the frightening ones” and “couldn’t breathe.” The call was then disconnected.

This is the moment when Khalifa decided to kill her, the indictment said. He took out a long knife and stabbed her repeatedly. She tried to flee, but to no avail.

Amir Bar Dayan, the Dadon family’s lawyer, noted that the family always believed the murder was a terror attack and had consistently demanded that it be recognized as such. “Shelly Dadon was murdered because she was a Jew and not for any other reason,” he said. “Today’s decision is exactly what her parents and three siblings demanded from the first moment.”