Thousands of mourners gathered for the funeral of an Israeli woman murdered in Australia.
The mourners walked through the Arab town of Baka al-Garbiyeh in northern Israel, the home town of Aiia Maasarwe, to accompany her body to a local cemetery.
Maasarwe, 21, was killed a week ago in Melbourne, and her body was discovered hours later.
Her father, Saeed, had flown to Australia to identify her and bring her home for burial.
It took nearly a week for the Victorian Coroner and Australian police to release her body for burial, though Muslim tradition requires a burial as soon as possible after death.
“This is the message we want to send, we want to make the world more peace and more safety, and more beautiful, and more smile; and more forgive each other,” Saeed Maasarwe told reporters late Monday before leaving for Israel. “It’s not from me, this is Aiia. I talk in my voice, but this is Aiia’s mind,” he said.
Maasarwe, an exchange student at La Trobe University in Melbourne for the past five months from Shanghai University in China, had been on a Facetime video call with her sister late on Jan. 15, when it was interrupted. The phone was knocked from Maasarwe’s hand and her sister heard screaming, according to reports.
Codey Herrmann, 20, a rapper who performs as MC Codez, was arrested more than two days later and charged in Melbourne Magistrates Court with murder and rape.
Several vigils were held in Melbourne for the murdered Israeli woman and a rally was held in Israel during which demonstrators accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the government of not doing enough to return the woman’s body.