Daily Israel Report

Murderer of Prominent Israeli Rabbi Gets Life Sentence

After psychiatrist deems Asher Dahan fit for trial, Be'er Sheva court sentences him for stabbing Baba Sali's grandson in 2011.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 1/21/2014, 4:13 PM

Rabbi Abuhatzeira
Rabbi Abuhatzeira
Arutz Sheva courtesy of Kikar HaShabbat

A Be'er Sheva court sentenced Asher Dahan to life imprisonment on Tuesday. The 45-year-old was indicted of stabbing to death Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, grandson of the famous Baba Sali, in July 2011.

While the trial was originally postponed over questions regarding Dahan's sanity, psychiatrists later deemed the man was fit to be tried.

Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, or 'Baba Elazar,' as he was known, was considered a master of Kabbalah mysticism; he hid his face out of modesty and reportedly used an underground tunnel to arrive at yeshiva from his home.

Apparently Dahan had marital difficulties and, suspecting his wife of adultery, went to consult the rabbi. His anger turned on Baba Elazar however after he was recommended not to divorce immediately. According to the indictment: "the accused reasoned that (the rabbi's) advice was wrong and lacked consideration, stemming from a desire for money."

In a meeting with the mystic rabbi, Dahan stabbed him in the chest. He later expressed regret, stating that “I don't know what devil or Satan got into me," and that if he were able to undo what he had done, he would.

A new synagogue, Ohel Elazar, was named after the slain rabbi in 2012 in Yokneam, southeast of Haifa. Earlier in 2011 another synagogue was dedicated in the rabbi's name in Netanya, called Pikudat Elazar.

Rabbi Baruch Abuhatzeira, brother of the murdered sage, said in 2011 that Baba Elazar saved the people of Israel from evil decrees through his death.

"He nullified many harsh decrees for us... We ask you, Rabbi Elazar: go before the Throne of Glory and pray there for the people of Israel. Pray for the entire family. Pray for your sons, your daughters, your grandchildren and wife."