Haifa Man Indicted for Murdering His 72-year-old Mother

Defense attorney: He needs a psychiatric hospital, not prison.

An archive photo of an Israel Police car.
David Bachar

A 46-year-old man from Haifa was indicted Wednesday for murdering his 72-year-old mother in his apartment last month. The accused, Kfir Rotem, lives off a disability allowance from the Defense Ministry and the financial support he got from his mother, Nili Rothberg.

Rotem allegedly had a troubled relationship with his mother for years and complained about her bitterly, often expressing his anger to her and other people, even saying he wished she was dead, including in text messages and on Facebook.

Last November, Rotem filed a complaint with the police against her, and asked the Family Court to bar her from entering his apartment and bothering him. She agreed not to contact him, but to continue to support him financially. Despite this agreement, they remained in contact.

On May 10, before Memorial Day, his mother came to visit Rotem in his apartment in Haifa. The indictment states that Rotem attacked her at some stage and choked her. After she lost consciousness, he allegedly took off his belt and strangled her.

Rotem then called his estranged wife, and 15 minutes later called the police and informed them he had murdered his mother. She was evacuated in serious condition to a hospital and kept on a respirator under sedation. She died a day later as a result of the strangling.

Dan Gilad, a lawyer from the Public Defender’s Office who is representing Rotem, told Haaretz that his client is mentally disabled, and “in our opinion, he needs psychiatric treatment and supervision 24 hours a day.

“It is clear,” the attorney continued, “that this is an exceptional incident of crime within the family, and shows [Rotem] needs help and not imprisonment.” The court sent Rotem for a psychiatric examination.