DNA Test Leads to Charges Against an Israeli Man in 2009 Rape Case

Unsolved for a decade, breakthrough in case came after alleged rapist's brother arrested for another crime

Renanim Mall, near the scene of the crime.
עזרא לוי

A 35-year-old man was charged Thursday with the rape of a woman in central Israel over a decade ago. Elhai Nidam was also charged with sexual assault and kidnapping.

The case was recently solved through a DNA match with evidence collected from the crime scene near the Renanim Mall in Ra'anana.

Two months ago, a similarity was found between a DNA sample from Nidam’s brother, under investigation for another crime, and a sample taken from the crime scene.

Detectives lured Kfar Sava resident Nidam to the police station by inviting him to file a complaint he wished to make concerning another matter, and while he was there he drank a cup of water and smoked a cigarette. The DNA retrieved from them matched the DNA from the crime scene and led to his arrest. In 2014, a similar method was used by police to identify the killer of teenager Noa Eyal, 16 years after her murder.

When questioned by police, Nidam denied any connection to the rape, but a source familiar with the investigation says he was found to have lied in his testimony about how he was living a decade ago. In the course of the police’s covert investigation, Nidam was recorded saying to his mother, “If I raped someone and it was found out, I would immediately take my passport and flee the country and disappear.”

Hezi Cohen, Nidam’s attorney, said after news of his arrest was made public: “My client completely denies all the allegations. We have yet to see all the evidentiary material, and we shall respond promptly as soon as it is received. My client is stunned by the charges and he denies any involvement in the incident.”