Israeli Woman Found Dead Near West Bank Settlement in Suspected Terror Attack

Hagar Shezaf
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Esther Horgen
Esther Horgen Credit: Courtesy of the Horgen family
Hagar Shezaf

The police and Shin Bet are investigating the death of a 52-year-old woman after her body was found Sunday overnight in the northern West Bank.

Her body was found in the Reihan forest in the northern West Bank after family members reported that the woman had not returned from her run. Police and a search unit found the body around an hour later, and are gathering evidence for investigation alongside a forensics team. Police suspect the killing was politically motivated.

Esther Horgen, a resident of the settlement of Tal Menashe, was an artist, a marriage counselor, and a mother of six. The youngest child celebrated his bar-mitzvah around three months ago.

Magen David Adom paramedic Assaf Tafuhi said that the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, arrived at the crime scene and then broke the news to the family, along with the rabbi of the settlement. In an interview with Kan Bet public radio, Dagan said that Horgen was “violently murdered” and described the case as “shocking and barbaric.”

Her husband, Benjamin Horgen, tearfully said: “Esther went out yesterday as usual, to wander in nature that she loved so much near the settlement. Nothing adventurous, but a walking path like any other in Israel, but she did not come back. This did not suit her: so full of love and light, and love for everyone around her, and all this was cut short in an instant. It is hard to describe in words, who could do such a thing?... We should give the appropriate Zionist answer to acts of destruction and killing: more life, more building, more creativity, and more work on the ground for the sake of our children and the people of Israel.”

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz also responded to the murder: “I express my deepest condolences to the Horgen family following the abominable murder of Esther. May her memory be blessed. Security forces are already working to catch the heinous killer. We will never accept a reality in which human life is rendered worthless.”

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin also weighed in: “The murder has cut short a full life of miracle, of building a house and a family, of creativity and care. A life that was robbed by animals.”

In addition, Yamina MK Bezalel Smotrich tweeted: "The security forces will, with God's help, get their hands on the perpetrators of this horrific attack and they will be held accountable."

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