'Nothing Here Will Ever Be the Same'

Katzrin locals express mixed reactions

A short while after the Nazareth District Court judges ruled that Roman Zadorov had indeed murdered Tair Rada, five of her closest friends left the Nofei Golan school in Katzrin where she was killed and went to the cemetery.

The teenagers, now in the 12th grade, stood around Rada's grave and wept.

Roman Zadorov
Yaron Kaminsky

Katzrin residents told Haaretz that the town was completely quiet as locals listened to news reports on the verdict.

"We wanted to know if he was the killer or not. Tair's murder shocked Katzrin, and nothing here will ever be the same," one resident said.

Most of those who spoke with Haaretz asked not to be identified by name, explaining that it is a small community and any comment has the potential to hurt someone.

The local school was closed off to outsiders, with two guards standing at the gate. Students were asked not to give interviews, and had been prepared for the arrival of the media and the public interest the verdict was sure to elicit.

The ruling was also the main topic of conversation at the town's commercial center.

For residents with strong opinions on the murder, the court's unequivocal conviction didn't make much of an impact.

"They dumped the case on him," said Avi Klein. "How could the trial last nearly four years otherwise? If he was the murderer it would have ended quickly. I can't believe he could've concealed or tampered with all of the evidence."

"I still can't calm down, even after the verdict," another woman in the city center said. "Maybe the killer is still walking among us. As far as I'm concerned, the jigsaw puzzle isn't solved yet and there are still doubts. I believe Zadorov was at the scene and knows things, but wouldn't speak."

Another resident said he had confidence in the verdict.

"This is our justice system," he said. "If the court had acquitted him, I would have accepted that decision - just as all of us should now accept its verdict that Zadorov is the murderer."