Arson in Pisgat Ze'ev
Arson in Pisgat Ze'ev Fire Department

The two Jewish women who were involved in relations with Arab men and clashed with each other, leading to the lethal arson attack in Jerusalem's Pisgat Ze'ev late last month that claimed the life of a Jewish woman who happened to be living in the same building, have divulged more details in the shocking case.

The fire broke out on Betzalel Batzrawi Street in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood, in an arson attack targeting an apartment on the second floor where one of the women and her Arab partner, Ahmed Bardan, lived.

Their conflict with the other Jewish woman and her Arab boyfriend ended with Arab assailants setting their apartment on fire, and Orit London z''l who lived on the third floor with her husband Yonatan was caught up in the flames, suffering critical wounds from which she later died.

The conflict that led to the lethal arson attack started years ago, reports Yedioth Yerushalayim.

H. and R., two young Jewish women living in Pisgat Ze'ev and the nearby Neve Ya'akov neighborhood who were identified only by their initials, began going out with Arab men living in eastern Jerusalem. They regularly spent time in Bethlehem and clubs in towns controlled by the Palestinian Authority (PA) with their Arab boyfriends.

They related one harrowing experience the night the Arab youth Mohammed Abu-Khder was murdered by a Jewish attacker suffering from mental illness last June.

That night they were in a club in a PA-controlled town, and when news of the murder was released, masked Arab men chased them just for being Jewish. During the chase they climbed onto the roofs of the homes, during which R. hurt her leg and required medical treatment.

At a certain stage a conflict developed between H. and R. due to both romantic and financial matters. The violent conflict escalated and climaxed with the arson attack committed by the Arab attackers attached to R.

During investigations, H. related that when she and her partner arrived at their apartment they heard Orit London shouting "I'm burning, save me!"

Command Sgt. Mjr. Ranan, one of the investigators, said of the two that "in investigations I met girls unable to think ahead, (who could) only deal with surviving from day to day. It turns out they were living in a reality that forced them to be helped by the Arab men."

"In all of my conversations with these girls I felt sorry about the situation that they arrived at," Ranan said. "These are girls who learned from a young age only to survive."

One of the two wrote to Yonatan, London's husband, expressing her sorrow over her actions.

During the investigation, R. was asked why she didn't call the owner of the building who lived on the first floor or the other neighbors and try to prevent the arson.

She answered "I stood in front of the burning apartment like I was stupid and didn't do anything. I knew I would pay for it."