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Rabbi's Death Recognized as Terror, not Suicide

Three years after Rabbi Moshe Talbi's murder, the state finally admits that he was killed by terrorists.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 6/2/2014, 1:45 PM

Rabbi Moshe Talbi
Rabbi Moshe Talbi
Courtesy of the family

Rabbi Moshe Talbi Hy”d was murdered by terrorists on March 21, 2011, but it has taken the state of Israel over three years to recognize this fact. For inexplicable reasons, the initial official version regarding his death was that it was a suicide, and it took a prolonged struggle, including legal and journalistic pressure, to get the state to change this version. The official recogniztion means that the rabbi's family is also recognized as being a victim of terror.

Rabbi Talbi's brother-in-law, Attorney Shmuel Lancry, told Arutz Sheva Monday that the decision by State Attorney Shai Nitzan comes much too late.

Rabbi Talbi, a resident of Hispin, in the Golan Heights, was on his way to visit his daughter and granddaughter in the community of Revava in Samaria, in the early afternoon hours, when he was attacked by unknown assailants. His body was found in the car, with a bullet wound to the head. Six bullet casings were found near the car and security video showed people who apparently ambushed him – yet the police tried to shut the investigation file and declare the case a suicide.

Lancry praised Nitzan for personally intervening in the case and opposing the intent of the State Attorney's Office's Central District to accept the police's conclusions in the case.

Lancry noted that DNA not belonging to Rabbi Talbi was found at the scene of the attack. A traffic examiner found that Rabbi Talbi stopped his car abruptly, that the shot that hit him was fired from a distance of three feet, that his right hand was clean of blood drops, that the gun was found to the left of the body, and more.

Police only agreed to reopen the case after the family hired a private pathologist, and took her findings to Knesset, where they gathered support among MKs for further investigation. A second investigation indicated that Rabbi Talbi may have been murdered by terrorists.

The State Comptroller issued a strong condemnation of police behavior in the investigation of the death of Rabbi Talbi. Due to their erroneous assumption, police officers failed to conduct basic tests that could have helped find the killers, State Comptroller Yosef Shapira stated.

“Various examinations that are required in any investigation of a death of this kind were not carried out,” he wrote. “They did not check for fingerprints or take DNA samples from the Rabbi’s car, his clothing was not examined, a picture of the scene was not taken immediately, but rather, only much later, no pathologist was brought to the scene, and there was no analysis of the blood pattern at the scene.

“The bullet that was left at the scene was not located, and security cameras were not checked,” he noted.

“The fact that police reached the conclusion that it was a suicide before completing the investigation meant they did not conduct critical tests which could have shed light on the circumstances of the death,” he charged.