The murder of 19-year-old Shelly Dadon of Afula has been solved, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said on Sunday, nearly a month after it arrested the man it said carried out the grisly murder.
According to the Shin Bet, on June 16 it arrested Hassin Yussef Hasin Halifa, a taxi driver from Ibillin in the Galilee, on suspicion of carrying out the murder on the night of May 1.
Though Halifa was arrested weeks ago, news of his arrest and confession were only publicized Sunday, after the Israeli media began covering the arrest of a group of Jews for allegedly murdering a Palestinian teen in a nationalistic crime last week.
The Shin Bet said Sunday that Halifa confessed to the crime and described details of the murder that weren’t publicly known.
The security service said Halifa picked Dadon up after he had dropped off some workers in the industrial district of Migdal Ha’emek. She asked for a ride to her job interview nearby, and Halifa offered to take her, but on the way stopped at a deserted parking lot and stabbed her to death.
He then washed his cab and tossed Dadon’s wallet near the Arab village of Beit Zarzir.
Not long after the murder, the wallet was found by a group of local youth, who used Dadon’s credit card, leading to their arrest and the first statement by Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch that there’d been a “dramatic development in the case” and that the crime was most likely nationalistic. Those six suspects, including minors, were released not long after without charge.
Since then police has cooled on the assessment it was a nationalistic crime, though the Shin Bet said Sunday that while it still hasn’t been able to fully clarify the motive for the murder “our assessment is it was for nationalistic reasons.”
The murder was followed by protests held by Dadon’s family, calling for security services to find the killers, but also for Israel to end the practice of releasing convicted murderers in exchange for kidnapped Israelis.