Cleared For Publication:
Murderers of elderly Jewish man captured, terrorism suspected

Two suspected murderers captured following gruesome killing of Samaria resident Reuven Shmerling. Terrorism suspected.

David Rosenberg, | updated: 18:07

Reuven Shmerling
Reuven Shmerling
Elkana Local Council

Israeli security forces captured two Arab residents of the Palestinian Authority suspected of murdering 70-year-old Reuven Shmerling last week.

The two suspects, residents of the PA-controlled town of Qabatiya in northern Samaria, were arrested last Thursday in a joint operation by the Shin Bet internal security agency, Israel Police, and the IDF. The arrests were cleared for publication Sunday evening.

While police initially suggested the murder may have been the result of a business dispute between Shmerling and employees of his factory, authorities now say the evidence suggests the murder was a premeditated act of terrorism.

“Evidence gathered thus far by the [Shin Bet] indicates that this was a terrorist attack carried out for a nationalist motive,” the Shin Bet said in a statement Sunday.

Investigators say the investigation is still ongoing and further details remain under a gag order.

Shmerling, a long-time resident of the town of Elkana in western Samaria, was found dead in his factory in the nearby Arab town of Kfar Qasim last Wednesday afternoon, with signs of extreme violence on his body.

The victim’s son, Shai, found Shmerling’s remains in the Kfar Qasim industrial zone Wednesday afternoon after he failed to return home.

Shmerling’s children and grandchildren had gathered at his home Wednesday ahead of the Sukkot holiday to celebrate his 70th birthday. On Friday, some 1,200 people gathered at the Elkana cemetery to pay their final respects as Shmerling was laid to rest.

Just days before his murder, Shmerling had served as cantor at the Moreshet Yehudit synagogue in Elkana during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) founded the Moreshet Yehudit synagogue, named in honor of his late wife, Marcia Judith Slomiansky (nee Dolgin).