Portrait of a victim of terror: Sarah Sharon

Palestinian murderers of Holon prostitute and mother of seven are among security prisoners set to be released.

Sarah Sharon (photo credit: National Insurance Institute)
Sarah Sharon
(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.
Sharon’s throat had been slit and her beaten, half-naked body showed the signs of a furious struggle.
On her body police found a hand-written note reading, in Arabic, “we will continue killing Jews until all the [Palestinian] deportees return.”
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 Palestinian Authority.
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.
Sarah Sharon’s 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 their clients.
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 murder.
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 states.
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 up.”
The neighbor said Sharon’s life was “terrible” and that she was always being beaten by clients or people she owed money to.
A Ma’ariv 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 divorced.
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 her family.
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.