A year after convicting Itai Ben-Dror of murdering his three children, the Central District Court in Petah Tikva sentenced the Netanya resident on Tuesday to three cumulative life sentences.
At the time of the murders, the three children – aged five, eight and 10 – were living with their mother and his ex-wife, Lilach Shem-Tov, in Kfar Yona, 7 kilometers east of Netanya, and had come to visit their father.
Ben-Dror stabbed them to death in his Netanya apartment on July 24, 2010.
He then wrote several notes with instructions for rescue personnel in case his suicide attempt was successful. In one of the notes, Ben-Dror wrote that he and the children “will now finally be together in heaven. I will take you with me to the next world, where we will be together for eternity.”
Ben-Dror only lightly injured himself.
He committed the murders on his exwife’s birthday, but in court denied that he had done so for revenge.
The court additionally ordered Ben- Dror to pay half a million shekels compensation to Lilach. In doing so, the judges rejected Ben-Dror’s arguments that he should pay reduced compensation to his ex-wife.
In passing sentence, the court took into consideration a report on Lilach’s emotional state after the murders, which said the mother of three was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Lilach had “not yet internalized the magnitude of her loss,” the report said, adding that her emotional capabilities were shattered and that she coped by remaining emotionally detached and dissociated.
Lilach separated from Ben-Dror in 2009, and while her ex-husband retained visitation rights, she feared for her children’s safety when they visited him, after his condition deteriorated and he attempted suicide, the court learned.
In response to the sentence, Lara Tzinman of the Murder Victims’ Families Association criticized what she said was an “absurdity” of the legal system, whereby Ben-Dror could be eligible to file a request for parole after serving only 15 years.
Tzinman said it was “unacceptable” that the perpetrators of brutal murders such as those committed by Ben-Dror could have early release.
“Victims and their families will never be able to return to their old lives,” she said.