Netanya Man Suspected of Stabbing His 3 Children to Death

Itai Ben Dror was released from psychiatric hospital two months ago.

Investigators say Itai Ben Dror, who was arrested yesterday as the prime suspect in the murders of his three young children, had admitted planning the killings. Found dead in the man's Netanya apartment were Or (5 ), Roni (8 ) and Omer (10 ).

Paramedics and police were dispatched to the scene at around 11 A.M. after Ben Dror's father told an emergency dispatcher that his son had just called him, sounding suicidal. The Magen David Adom paramedics who entered the Borochov Street home with Ben Dror's father feared they might find a suicide. Instead they found the children's lifeless bodies. Police believe they were stabbed while they slept.

Forensic officers at the scene of the murder in Netanya, July 25, 2010
Tal Cohen

Ben Dror was admitted to Laniado Hospital yesterday with minor cuts on one hand, and will be discharged today pending the results of medical tests. He was discharged two months ago from the Lev Hasharon Psychiatric Hospital in Pardesiya after a five-month stay, and has attempted suicide six times in the past.

Itai Ben Dror and the children's mother Lilach divorced about a year ago. The mother and the children remained in their home in Kfar Yona after the divorce. The father moved to Netanya about a month ago.

On Friday, Lilach left the children with their father at his apartment for the weekend, as she had in previous weeks, in accordance with their custody agreement. This was a relatively recent change. Itai was originally allowed only supervised visits with the children, but welfare authorities accepted a psychiatrist's recommendation to permit unsupervised visits.

After the murders, Galia Sivoney, sister of Lilach Ben Dror, accused welfare authorities of pressuring the mother to allow the children to see their father unsupervised.

In a letter found by rescue services at the scene, the suspect wrote: "I am hospitalized a few months now. I want you, my children, to be with me, very much, and now finally all of us can be together up there. I will take you with me to the world to come, so you can all be with me forever. Love, Dad."

He left two other letters, one asking that his bag be brought to him in the psychiatric hospital in the event his suicide attempt failed and the other with the phone numbers of people who were to be informed of his death.

Welfare officials familiar with the case said the welfare authorities acted correctly with regard to visitation arrangements and said the problem was with the psychiatric evaluation conducted in late April at Lev Hasharon. According to this evaluation, Ben Dror was stable, had a good relationship with his family and did not pose a danger to himself or those around him.