Johara Khnefess, Shfaram deputy mayor's daughter, killed in car bombing

Officers at the scene identified an explosive device attached to the vehicle that killed Johara Khnefess, 28.

First responders at the scene of a car explosion near Lod (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
First responders at the scene of a car explosion near Lod
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Johara Khnefess, 28, the daughter of Shfaram Deputy Mayor Faraj Khnefess, was killed Tuesday night in a car bombing.

“I was heartbroken. How does a man decide to kill a young woman, who was such a good girl and caused no harm to anyone?” Mayor Ursan Yassin told N12. “A terrible and difficult event. People are angry and afraid. Our country needs to do more to stop this violence. It cannot continue.”

Khnefess had previously spoken out against violence in Arab society, Walla reported. Her father is a prominent social activist, and her mother serves as chairperson of the Unit for the Advancement of Women in Shfaram.

“I didn’t expect the violence to reach me. I hope the police will punish the killers,” Johara’s father told Ynet, adding that he could not “digest the fact that we lost our precious daughter. I don’t know what they wanted from her and why they murdered her. My daughter was the flower of the family. It is usually customary for children to bury parents, but it’s terrible for parents who have to bury the children first.”

 Scene where a car explosion went off in Nahariya, injuring two, October 21, 2021. (credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) Scene where a car explosion went off in Nahariya, injuring two, October 21, 2021. (credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The initial police report came Tuesday night when fire crews arrived at the scene in Shfaram and found Khnefess’s lifeless body shortly after the car exploded. Officers at the scene also identified an explosive device attached to the vehicle. Magen David Adom paramedics said the car was on fire when they arrived, and that they couldn’t identify the victim at first.

Police, concluding that this was an assassination, had yet to arrest anyone in relation to the incident as of Wednesday morning, KAN reported. A Ynet report a few hours later stated that police suspect that a relative of Khnefess was involved in her death, possibly in opposition to her social activism.

Labor MK Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin contacted the deputy mayor, expressing her condolences, saying she “prays that Johara will be the last victim in this cycle of terror.”

The Abraham Initiatives, an NGO dedicated to coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Israel, said Khnefess’s death was the 35th Arab crime-related death this year.