(photo credit: National Insurance Institute)
The body of Sarah Sharon had been lying in the brush for almost
12 hours when it was found by a passerby on January 20, 1993.
throat had been slit and her beaten, half-naked body showed the signs of a
On her body police found a hand-written note reading,
in Arabic, “we will continue killing Jews until all the [Palestinian] deportees
The coroner’s report placed the time of death at around 7 p.m.,
well after sunset in the Israeli winter. It was a couple of hours after she had
left her Rishon Lezion apartment for the Holon Industrial District, where she
worked as a prostitute, to help pay for her drug addiction, according to
newspaper reports from the time.
On the evening of January 19,
38-year-old Sharon had only been at the industrial district for a few hours when
she hitched a ride from which she would never return.
Her killers, Yacub
Mahmoud Uda Ramaddan, Da’agna Nofel Muhammad Mahmoud, and Afana Mustafa Ahmed
Muhammad, are among the 26 Palestinian security prisoners set to be freed this
week, in the third round of the prisoner releases between Israel and the
All three men were convicted of murder for killing
Sharon, and have been in Israeli custody since April 1, 1993.
In each of
the rounds of prisoner releases there are names that stick out, bringing back to
the surface crimes that shocked the Israeli public.
murder, on the other hand, is a largely forgotten crime. Like the other pre-Oslo
murders, it happened before the Internet, and records of the murder itself can
be found only in the newspaper archives from the time.
A Yediot Aharonot
article from January 21, 1993, bears the headline “Prostitute murdered – the
background is nationalist.”
The article then describes how her mutilated
body was found in the tall grass on Hayogev street in Holon, in an open area,
near factories and garages, which was a well-known haunt for street-walkers and
The article – which ran below a report from the first
inauguration of US president Bill Clinton – said that Sharon had not been robbed
or raped, and that it was clear that the sole motive of the crime was
After police found the note in Arabic, they had police sappers
come and check Sharon’s body for a bomb, fearing the terrorists may have
booby-trapped it in order to kill first responders, the report
The Yediot Aharonot article paints a picture of a woman who spent
years strolling the Holon Industrial district at night to pay for her drug
habit, which had all but ruined her life. One neighbor interviewed by the paper
said “we knew her for years, we tried to help her many times. She said she
wanted to get out of prostitution but there was no one to back her
The neighbor said Sharon’s life was “terrible” and that she was
always being beaten by clients or people she owed money to.
article described her as a mother of six who lost custody of her kids to the
state, and who herself grew up in a boarding school after her parents
In her final years she lived in public housing in Rishon
Lezion, with her boyfriend with whom she had two kids and an abusive
relationship, according to Ma’ariv.
Friends interviewed in both articles
said Sharon feared she’d die a violent death at the hands of one of her clients,
in particular one of the Arab men who plied the Holon industrial district at
night, saying that she feared one of them would want to take “revenge” on the
Jews by killing an Israeli prostitute.
In the end, it appears her worst
nightmare came true, and now, two decades later the pain is being revisited upon
A picture posted on the National Insurance Institute terror
victims website shows Sharon, an Ashdod native, in happier times. She’s
cleareyed and pretty, and doesn’t appear to be a woman who would live most of
her adult life on the margins of society, only to be killed and strewn on the
side of the road in a dark and lonely stretch of Central Israel.