Woman's body found in West Bank forest, police investigating terror attack

"The security forces will, with God's help, get their hands on the perpetrators of this terrible attack and bring them justice," said MK Betzalel Smotrich.

Esther Hurgan, the woman killed in a suspected terror attack in the northern West Bank on Dec. 21, 2020 (photo credit: ZAKA RESCUE AND RECOVERY ORGANIZATION)
Esther Hurgan, the woman killed in a suspected terror attack in the northern West Bank on Dec. 21, 2020
(photo credit: ZAKA RESCUE AND RECOVERY ORGANIZATION)
Israel Police are investigating the cause of death of a woman in her 50s whose body was found early Monday morning in the Reihan Forest in the northern West Bank. The police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) are reportedly evaluating whether the murder might have been a terrorist attack.
"We wake up to a difficult and painful event in the northern Shomron," said MK Betzalel Smotrich upon hearing the news. "We send our condolences to the family of the 14th murdered woman [this year] and ask to embrace and strengthen the residents of Tal Menashe and the entire Shomron community.
"The security forces will, with God's help, get their hands on the perpetrators of this terrible attack and bring them justice," the MK concluded. 
The woman, Esther Hurgan, was a resident of Tel Menashe, a town near the forest. Her body was found on the side of the road in the forest, marked by signs of violence, including to her head. Her family reported her missing on Sunday. She leaves behind her husband, Benyamin, and six children. Her youngest child celebrated his bar mitzvah just three months ago.
IDF soldiers were called to the scene alongside police after the body was found.
The Samaria Regional Council referred to the incident as a terrorist attack, adding that Hurgan was found overnight with "her head crushed."
"A dear woman so full of kindness, goes out in the afternoon in the center of the State of Israel to exercise a minute away from her home, and is murdered by vile people in such a cruel way," said the head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan. "I ask 'what barbarians, like in the Middle Ages, what cruelty to hack the face of a 52-year-old woman with a rock in cold-blood? What evil are we facing?'"
He added: "I want to say clearly to these barbarians from the Palestinian Authority in front of the whole world: you will never break us. The settlements in Samaria will flourish and grow and build together with the whole State of Israel, because you in the barbaric Palestinian Authority chose death and we chose life. You act like barbarians from the Middle Ages – and we are in 2020 and the people of Israel will win."
"The late Esther Hurgan was brutally murdered when she went for a run near her home," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the incident. "The security forces will get their hands on the killer as soon as possible and we will bring him to justice. I would like to send my deepest condolences to the family."
"I send my deepest sympathies to the Horgan family on the horrific murder of Esther, of blessed memory," said Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz in response to the incident. "Israel’s security forces are working to find the despicable murderer and take him promptly into custody. We will never accept a reality in which human life becomes dispensable."

President Reuven Rivlin commented on the murder, saying: "This is a hard, heart-breaking morning with news of the cruel murder of Esther Hurgan, who left her house yesterday and did not return. A full life of wonderful works – of home and family, of creativity and care – has been cut short by a beast in human guise. I have full faith that our security forces will get to the despicable murders and that justice will be done. I embrace Esther's family, her children and their father. We are with you in this time of such deep grief."
"Esther went out yesterday as she was used to, to walk in nature, which she loved so much here around the settlement," said Benyamin, Esther's husband. "No adventurous deeds, a walking trail like every normal place in the country – and she did not return. It does not suit her, so full of life and light and love for everyone, and all this is cut off in an instant. Who can do such a thing?"
"We should all be here in the settlement in the regional council, all the people of Israel, and give the appropriate Zionist answer to acts of destruction and killing with more light, more life, more construction, more creation, and more action on the ground for our children and all the people of Israel," he stressed.
"Esther raised a family for glory, loved her grandchildren and now they will have no mother, no grandmother," the bereaved husband said. "Esther will be missed by all of us, the family and everyone who knew her. Before I knew what was going on, I got messages from all sorts of people how much she touched them and how much she did. We see the great success of the family and of the community in general, and that is largely due to her."

"We start the morning with the sad news of the brutal murder of Esther Hurgan, a mother of six, last night in Samaria. It cannot be that a woman goes for a run and does not return home," said Jerusalem Affairs Minister Rafi Peretz. "I trust the security and police forces to lay hands on the perpetrator of this heinous crime, and I send my condolences to the grieving family."
"The murder of Esther Hurgan, a mother of six, is heartbreaking. Such cruelty and evil," said opposition leader Yair Lapid. "I send condolences to the family and am sure that the security forces will catch the heinous killer."
"My heart weeps over the murder of the late Esther Hurgan, a mother of six from Samaria – all she did was go for a run near her home," said Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman. "I send my condolences to the family and hope that the IDF and the security forces will reach those responsible for the murder soon."