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Police Say Suicide, Family Says Murderous Terror Attack

Hiding a terror attack? Police say Rabbi Moshe Talbi killed himself, but his family, aided by pathologist, says he was murdered by Arab terrorists.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 4/4/2011, 3:36 PM / Last Update: 4/4/2011, 2:41 PM

Hiding a terror attack? Police say Rabbi Moshe Talbi of the Golan killed himself, but his family, aided by pathologist, says he was murdered by terrorists.

Just hours before the terrorist bombing in Jerusalem two weeks ago that killed a British woman, a 54-year-old rabbi was found dead in his car, just outside the Jewish community Revavah in the Shomron (Samaria). The police arrived on the scene, found him shot in the head, his car engine running and a gun by his side, and within 15-20 minutes, made the determination: He had committed suicide.

“This was a terrible injustice,” says his brother-in-law, Attorney Shmuel Lankry, who has a host of complaints against the police: “They did not collect all the evidence, including a bullet casing that I myself found there three days later; they did not analyze a security camera’s filmed version of the event; they are stuck on a particular conception that they refuse to admit might be wrong and that was based on a quick, 15-minute check of the scene; they informed my sister, the widow, in a terribly insensitive and public manner; they informed my nephew, the deceased’s son, by telling him that he had to come to the police station for questioning; they are allowing murderers to run free without pursuing them; and they are refusing to appoint another investigative team that can look into the case without prejudice.”

Speaking with Arutz-7 on Monday, after days of deliberations over whether to go public with the story, Lankry began by telling about Rabbi Talbi’s life: “A happy man, very happily married, with seven children and four grandchildren, preparing projects for Passover. He served in the past as a military rabbi, and then became a scribe who wrote two Torah scrolls.”

“On the morning of the murder,” Attorney Lankry said, “he drove his son Menachem from the Golan Heights to his high-school class in Ateret [a more than two-hour drive southwards], and told him that he would pick him up afterwards. In the meantime, he told him, he would head over to Revava, where his daughter lived, to visit her and her baby who was not feeling well. What we believe happened was that terrorists drove behind him and somehow signaled him from behind; he turned into Revava and then stopped to see what they wanted or if possibly he had something wrong with his car. When he saw that they were coming at him, he fired at them or in the air, they overpowered him, held his gun to his head, and shot.”

This version is backed up, Lankry said, by many fact, including the following: the deceased was found with his hands under his body; the gun was to his left even though he was right-handed; he was found with bruises on his face and leg; there were scuffle marks near the car; and more. “In addition, the medics who arrived on the scene also felt that this was not a suicide, but rather a murder... We had a pathologist and ballistic experts, who said it is unreasonable to assume that the gun ended up on his left side."

"Police are Stuck on their Pre-Conceptions"
The victim’s family has sent two detailed letters to Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch, Police Chief David Cohen, and other top police officers, complete with photographs and a pathologist’s report, asking that a new team of investigators with no previous bias be charged with looking again into the case. “It is unspeakable that they take 54 years of a person’s life and in one moment blacken everything by accusing him of having committed suicide,” Lankry said. "The family is suffering terribly."

“He lived a life of Torah; just that morning he had made up with a study partner to learn with him that night, and to visit another friend and pick up a belated Mishloach Manot portion. Instead of him being treated as a holy martyr, we were barely able to ensure that he had a proper funeral… his blood was spilt twice.”

The entire 18-minute interview, in Hebrew, can be heard here.