When police and security forces discovered 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher in Jerusalem’s Ein Yael forest on Friday, she was already dead. Police noted that she was murdered in a brutal fashion having been stabbed at least 12 times in the chest and neck. There were other signs of brutality but in deference to police requests and the dignity of the Ansbacher family, I will refrain from noting them here. Needless to say, this was a barbaric crime even by Palestinian standards of barbarity.
Forensic teams scoured the site for evidence and within 24 hours, there was a significant evidentiary breakthrough that led to the doorstep of 29-year-old Hebron resident, Arafat Irfayia. So strong was the physical evidence that police noted that they could secure a conviction even without a confession. Following the crime, Irfayia hid in a mosque in the Arab village of El-Bireh, and subsequently made his way to a home adjacent to the mosque where Israeli security forces nabbed him. His Hebron home has already been mapped for demolition.
On Sunday, Irfayia reenacted the crime for investigators. On day of the murder, Irfayia, who was known to law enforcement, left his Hebron home armed with a knife and made his way to Jerusalem, where he stumbled upon his innocent female victim. It was a crime of opportunity and unfortunately, Ori became a victim of Irfayia’s monstrous hate of Jews and deviant sexual proclivities.
The horrific nature of the crime instantly reverberated throughout Israel and revived calls for capital punishment for acts of terror with aggravating circumstances. Protestors assembled at Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square where they called for the death penalty for Ori’s killer. This sentiment was echoed by Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, who stated that prosecutors should seek the death penalty. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan expressed a similar position noting that certain aggravating circumstances such as abuse of the victim and inability to rehabilitate should be considered when assessing a capital case.
Though Israel has a death penalty statute, it has only been implemented once in the case of Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi who played an integral role in the murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust. Eichmann was captured in Buenos Aires by a Mossad team and spirited out of Argentina to Israel where he was tried and sentenced to death by hanging. He was executed on June 1, 1962 and cremated with his ashes spread over the Mediterranean Sea, outside of Israel’s maritime boundaries.
Those arguing against the death penalty reason that the death penalty does not serve as a deterrent as most of those who carry out these types of crimes expect to die and may even in fact yearn for death on the promise of being received by 72 virgins and lifetime pecuniary benefits for the terrorist’s family members. Moreover, the death of the terrorist serves to elevate him to martyrdom status.
Many Palestinians maintain a death cult mentality, which is continuously stoked by religious and governmental indoctrination, agitation and propaganda. For example, in 2015 Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, aired a speech on PA television in which he stated “…We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah…”
Both sides in this debate maintain valid arguments. Nevertheless, in the unlikely event that prosecutors in this case seek the death penalty, the body of the killer should be cremated to deny the enemy the ability to give the terrorist stardom status with grandiose funeral processions and a burial shrine. All traces of the terrorist should be erased.
The tragic death of Ori Ansbacher highlights another disturbing Palestinian practice known as “Pay for Slay.” The Palestinian economy is a beggar economy subsisting on handouts from European Union nations, Norway and Switzerland. Yet this did not prevent the PA from doling out cash to more than 30,000 terrorists and their families to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. It is likely that Arafat Irfayia or his family will now receive a hefty stipend from the PA’s coffers, care of the unsuspecting European taxpayer.
In response to the Taylor Force Act, passed by Congress in 2017, the Trump administration slashed funding to the PA. The legislation, named after a U.S. soldier who was murdered by a PA Arab, aims to force the PA to cease the repugnant practice of Pay for Slay. In 2018, the administration cut $200 million in economic aid earmarked for the PA. In addition, the administration cut funding to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), which the State Department classified as an “irredeemably flawed operation.” That is an understatement at best. UNRWA employees have given aid and comfort to terrorist organizations, distributed anti-Semitic literature at UNRWA-run schools and permitted Hamas to stockpile rockets at its educational facilities. It is an organization that serves to perpetuate conflict rather than end it.
The brutal murder of Ori Ansbacher serves to underscore the reason why peace with the Palestinians is a far-fetched pipedream. While Israel takes action to apprehend its extremists and bring them to justice, the Palestinians provide their killers with pecuniary rewards and name streets, schools and squares after them. A society that revels in death and gore is not a normal society but is rather a death cult, undeserving of any form of statehood.