Over a Month After Suspected Murder, Two Relatives of Slain Jerusalem Couple Arrested

'We think the police have hit a dead end and are making arrests too lightly,' lawyer claims, day after release of previous main suspect

The scene of the murder of Yehuda and Tamar Kaduri, Jeruslaem, January 13, 2019.
Olivier Fitoussi

Two relatives of a couple that was murdered in Jerusalem last month have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder. A gag order prevents the publication of their names or their relationship with Yehuda and Tamar Kaduri.

The two are husband and wife. The husband is related to the couple and is suspected with involvement in the murder and is held without bail for eight days while his wife is suspected of conspiracy and obstruction of justice and has been ordered held without bail for six days. 

The Kaduris, aged 71 and 68, were found dead in their apartment in Jerusalem’s Armon Hanetziv neighborhood after their children had been trying unsuccessfully to reach them by phone for a few days. The police found the door locked when they arrived, with no signs of a break-in, but the couple had stab wounds on their bodies.

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Police initially suspected a murder-suicide. But after additional evidence emerged, they concluded that husband and wife had been killed by others.

Shai Shlomi, the lawyer representing both suspects, said that while the gag order limits what he can say, his clients consider the arrest “a complete mix-up” and believe the truth will come out. He said they are considering appealing the police’s decision to keep them in detention, adding that his clients had “no motive” to murder the couple.

While the murderer must be brought to justice, Shlomi added, “It’s completely clear that it wasn’t these people, and it’s clear they had no involvement in it.”

“We think the police have hit a dead end and are making arrests too lightly,” he continued. “People have been arrested in this case and then released after long days of interrogation. The police opposed the release, but the district court ultimately ordered it.”

Shlomi was referring to the main suspect in the murder, who was released last week after having spent more than three weeks in detention. That suspect, a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who cleaned the building where the couple lived, was freed by the district court after it concluded that the suspicions against him were weak and that police had found no evidence to support their theory.

“From the first moment, I said I had no connection to the murder,” the cleaner said after his release. “They also never showed me any evidence. ... They told me I was suspected of murder. Do you know anyone from East Jerusalem who isn’t suspected of something?”

Two weeks ago, the couple’s children and their lawyer, Itamar Ben-Gvir, held a press conference at which they accused the police and the Shin Bet security service of dragging their feet on the case. Ben-Gvir, a longtime far-right activist, said the Shin Bet was refusing to use the full range of tools normally brought to bear in cases of suspected terrorist murder and that the police were “looking in the easy places.”

One of the couple’s sons said the trauma of the murder had been compounded by the “utter unreceptiveness of the authorities.”