Two Palestinians were arrested over the Sukkot holiday on suspicion of murdering Reuven Shmerling, H'yd, a 70-year-old Jewish man who was found murdered in an industrial zone in the Israeli-Arab town of Kfar Kassem on Wednesday afternoon.
An Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) spokesperson said evidence gathered so far pointed to an act of terrorism. The suspects, two Palestinians from the town of Qabatiya, south of Jenin, are will be charged with murdering Shmerling, a resident of the settlement of Elqana in northeastern Samaria, out of nationalistic motivations.
The Shin Bet placed a gag order on all details of the investigation.
According to media reports following the murder, Shmerling employed Palestinian laborers at the site where his body was found. The reports claimed that one of the directions police were pursuing is that Shmerling was beaten to death by his laborers following a dispute over money.
A neighbor described Shmerling as a “charming man with a wonderful family” who served as a cantor at his local synagogue.
Elqana Regional Council head Assaf Mintzer added that it was “clear from the outset” to the Shmerling family and the entire community that the murder was committed for nationalist reasons.
“The crime scene and the way he was murdered left no doubt about it. We thank our security forces, the Shin Bet, the IDF and the police for catching the murderers and we expect them to take meaningful action against the terrorists and their bosses,” Mintzer said.