Three indicted for murder of Jaffa Christian leader

Murder of the leader of Jaffa's Orthodox Church Association allegedly motivated by dispute over a valuable Jaffa property.

Gabriel Cadis funeral in Jaffa 311 (photo credit: Tamir Kalifa)
Gabriel Cadis funeral in Jaffa 311
(photo credit: Tamir Kalifa)
The Tel Aviv District Attorney’s office served an indictment in the city’s district court on Thursday, charging three men with murdering the leader of Jaffa’s Orthodox Church Association.
Attorney Gabriel “Gabi” Cadis was stabbed to death on January 6, Orthodox Christmas day. His murder has shocked Jaffa’s Christian community.
According to the indictment, a legal dispute over a valuable Jaffa property motivated the three defendants – 24-year-old Tawfik Dalo, 26- year-old Fuad Abu Maneh and their uncle, 55-year-old Talal Abu Maneh – to conspire together and murder Cadis.
The property, an apartment on Ahiluf Street in Jaffa’s increasingly expensive Ajami neighborhood, belonged to the Orthodox Church Association.
According to the indictment, Talal’s mother had lived in the apartment, the value of which is estimated at NIS 10 million, under “d’mei mafteah” (key money) conditions, meaning she paid below-market rent for its use.
When she passed away, the church demanded that the Abu Maneh family return the apartment.
Earlier this week, police revealed that there had been a protracted legal conflict between the two sides, as the Abu Maneh family said that Cadis and the association had no right to evict them from the apartment.
According to the indictment, by December the conflict had intensified, after Cadis refused to withdraw the legal case over the apartment.
In late November, Talal allegedly said he could “send one of his brother’s sons” to Cadis’s office to “eliminate” him and that he had connections who could “get him out of jail within five years.”
The indictment further says that at an association meeting on November 28, Talal warned Cadis that if he did not terminate the legal proceedings, he would be harmed and “blood would flow.”
As a result of his fight with Cadis, the indictment charges, Talal decided to have the Christian leader killed.
Allegedly Talal turned to his nephews to help him, and the three plotted to carry out the murder during Jaffa’s Orthodox Christmas celebrations on January 6.
The three purchased a Santa Claus costume and a knife, which Fuad carried, the indictment charges.
At around 5 p.m. on that date, as Jaffa’s Orthodox Christian community enjoyed a Christmas parade, Fuad and Dalo allegedly waited on Yefet Street, a central thoroughfare in Jaffa, with two other members of the Abu Maneh family..
Forty minutes later, Fuad and Dalo allegedly joined the Christmas parade as it entered the church on Louis Pasteur Street. According to the indictment, the two planned to stab Cadis in the churchyard.
With the Christmas celebrations in full swing, Fuad allegedly donned the Santa costume and waited in the churchyard. As the celebrants made their way from the church to the yard, the indictment continues, another member of the Abu Maneh family turned out the lights, as Fuad and Dalo tried to carry out their plot. However, they did not succeed.
According to the indictment, the two left the churchyard and followed Cadis into Yefet Street, Fuad still wearing his Santa disguise.
In a parking lot outside 42 Yefet Street, Fuad hid behind a parked car and pulled out his knife, while Dalo kept a lookout. Allegedly the two then stalked Cadis to the corner of Yefet and Yehuda Hayamit streets, where Fuad launched his attack, stabbing the Christian leader twice in the back and puncturing his aorta and lungs with an 11- centimeter-deep wound.
He and Dalo then fled the scene, the indictment charges, and Fuad ran to Talal’s house, where he changed his shirt while Talal photographed him with another family member to create a false alibi.
Meanwhile, Cadis was rushed to the Wolfson Hospital in Holon, but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Together with the indictment, the Tel Aviv District Attorney’s Office also served a request to remand the three in custody for the duration of the legal proceedings. The three will be formally arraigned on February 12.
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.