Indictment filed against suspect in Abuhatzeira murder

Dahan "killed Abuhatzeira in cold blood, without provocation" say prosecutors; murdered rabbi was grandson of Baba Sali.

August 23, 2011 14:53
2 minute read.
A gavel strikes at the issuing of justice

311_gavel. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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The Southern District Attorney’s office filed an indictment on Tuesday in the Beersheba District Court against Asher Dahan, the 42-year-old Elad resident accused of murdering Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira in July.

A well known and popular religious figure, Abuhatzeira was the grandson of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali, whom his followers believed was able to work miracles.

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Dahan, who was arrested immediately after the murder on July 28, was remanded in custody to a secure psychiatric facility earlier this month after judges decided he was a danger to the public.

According to the indictment, filed by District Attorney Debi Mazor, Dahan had been a follower of Abuhatzeira for many years and had asked the rabbi to advise him whether he should divorce his wife, whom he believed was cheating on him.

However, Dahan became angry when Abuhatzeira recommended that he not divorce his wife, the indictment revealed. He began to believe that the rabbi’s advice stemmed from a lack of discretion and from a desire to enrich himself.

At this point, Dahan decided that he would kill Abuhatzeira, prosecutors claim.

On July 28, Dahan concealed a 24.5 cm., partiallyserrated knife in his tefillin bag and then telephoned Abuhatzeira to ask for an audience with the rabbi.

Dahan then drove to Abuhatzeira’s Beersheba synagogue.

Before entering, he concealed the knife in his trousers.

At nearly midnight, Dahan joined a line of people in Abuhatzeira’s reception room waiting for a blessing from the rabbi. When it was his turn, Dahan handed Abuhatzeira a letter he had written. While the rabbi’s attention was on the letter, Dahan leaned toward him and said “In the name of God, we act and we succeed,” before plunging the knife deep into the rabbi’s chest.

Although paramedics attempted to save Abuhatzeira, he was pronounced dead on arrival at Soroka University Medical Center. Dahan was captured by other men in the synagogue and immediately handed over to police.

The indictment states that Dahan willfully killed Abuhatzeira in cold blood, without provocation, after planning the murder beforehand and while understanding the consequences of his actions, and that therefore he should be charged with murder.

The indictment against Dahan was filed despite a psychiatric assessment that deemed him unfit to stand trial.

However, in a hearing on Tuesday in the Beersheba District Court, state prosecutors requested that in light of the indictment, Dahan undergo a further psychiatric examination to reassess whether he was indeed responsible for his actions at the time of the stabbing.

The psychiatric reassessment was requested to be carried out in the next few days so that it is as close as possible to the events of the killing.

Judge Ruth Avida ruled that a second medical opinion regarding Dahan’s condition was necessary and ordered that a second psychiatrist examine Dahan in the next few days and submit a report by September 1 as to whether he is fit to stand trial.

Avida also ruled that Dahan will remain in custody in the Sha’ar Menashe psychiatric hospital.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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