An Jewish rabbi was gunned down in what the Israeli government described as a terrorist attack.
On Jan. 9, Rabbi Raziel Shevach was shot dead in his car along a highway while traveling to his home in the Havat Gilad outpost in the West Bank.
Israeli special forces and troops swiftly began a manhunt for Shevach’s killer, establishing roadblocks in the Nablus area where the rabbi was killed and searching Palestinian villages. It remains unclear how many people were involved in the shooting.
“Security forces will do everything possible do everything possible in order to reach the foul murderer, and the State of Israel will bring him to justice,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement.
“Entrances and exits to and from the villages surrounding Nablus will be possible only after security checks,” the IDF said in a statement.
Yael Sevach, the victim’s widow, announced that she would bury her husband in Havat Gilad.
“We decided together as a family to bury Raziel, my beloved husband, may God avenge his blood, in the community of Havat Gilad where he was active,” Yael said, according to The Times of Israel. “Raziel asked that if something were ever to happen to him that he would be buried at Havat Gilad. That is his will.”
Sevach is survived by Yael and their six children.
Havat Gilad was established in 2002 and named after Gilad Zar, who was killed in a terrorist attack in 2001. The Israeli government considers the outpost illegal and an infringement on Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan called on the Netanyahu government to officially recognize Havat Gilad in response to Shevach’s death, asserting that doing so would “diminish the motivation of terrorism.”
On Jan. 9, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman, took to social media to assert that PA policies had incentivized Palestinians to terrorize Israelis in the West Bank.
“An Israeli father of six was killed last night in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists,” Friedman tweeted out. “Hamas praises the killers and PA laws will provide them financial rewards. Look no further to why there is no peace.”
In 2004, the PA began providing stipends to imprisoned Palestinians who have been convicted of committing attacks in Israel. Since 2010, the Palestinian government has paid $570 a month to those incarcerated for up to five years and $3,400 a month to those who receive sentences of 30 years or more, according to The Washington Post.
Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that governs Gaza and is separate from the PA, praised Shevach’s murder in a statement.
“The Zionist occupation bears all the consequences of its extreme racist policies,” Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum said, according to Newsweek.
In December 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and that he would officially recognize the city as Israel’s capital, a move that outraged Arab leaders.
On Jan. 10, the Shin Bet security service disclosed that terrorist attacks in Israel and the West Bank had tripled in December 2017 compared to the month beforehand.
Sources: David M. Friedman/Twitter, Newsweek, The Times of Israel (2), The Washington Post / Featured Image: Antoine Taveneaux/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: U.S. Department of State/Flickr, Sevach family via The Times of Israel