Thousands of friends, relatives and supporters rallied in Afula on Saturday night in memory of Sheli Dadon, a 19-year-old local woman found stabbed to death in Migdal Ha’emek on May 1 in a suspected terrorist attack.
The rally began at around 8 p.m. at the Jezreel Valley town’s Yad L’Banim branch, from where it made its way to Independence Square.
Ahead of the rally, Assaf Sarid, a cousin of the victim, said the protest was not political, instead being meant to convey the message that Israel must toughen the penalties for murders and stop releasing convicted killers for political reasons. The protesters were not calling for the death penalty, he added, although another demand was an improved sense of personal security for Israelis.
“It’s unacceptable that people in Afula are afraid to go out and don’t feel safe here,” Sarid said Protest organizer Or Daniel also mentioned the killing last November of Eden Atias, an 18-year-old soldier stabbed to death in his sleep while on a bus parked at the Afula central station. In addition, Daniel said he believed the death of Dadon received less coverage than the recent spate of “price tag” attacks, where unknown vandals have been damaging property and leaving hostile graffiti in Arab towns and neighborhoods.
On Monday, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said there had been a “dramatic break” in the Dadon case and that he expected those responsible to be arrested in the coming days. He gave no further details because of a gag order.
Police said last week that they continued to believe that the motive for the killing was “nationalistic,” meaning a terrorist attack.
When asked how the Dadon family was coping, Sarid said: “I don’t think they’ll recover for years. Sheli was the joy of the family, always making sure that everyone was happy. I don’t know how they’ll come back from this.”