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Murder Trial of American Tourist is Adjourned After Two Weeks of Contradictory Testimony

The trial of two Israeli women accused of murdering an American woman tourist for her money a year ago, adjourned Wednesday after two weeks of contradictory testimony by the defendants and by pathologists called to the witness stand by the prosecution and defense. It will resume next fall when the Tel Aviv District Court returns from summer recess.

The defendants, Hava Ya’ari and Aviva Granot, are accused of misappropriating $50,000 in cash given to Ya’ari by Mala Melavksy for investment and then killing her when she called them to account. Melavsky’s battered body was discovered on a north Tel Aviv beach.

Police believed initially that she was the victim of a hit-and-run driver. But further investigation spurred by Melavsky’s family in the U.S., found a connection with Ya’ari who had been an investment counsellor. According to the prosecution, the two women forged documents and deposited the money in their joint bank account. Ya’ari and Granot, once good friends, have apparently had a falling out. Ya’ari testified that she quarrelled with Melavsky while driving and that the latter fell out of the car and struck her head on a rock. According to Granot, Ya’ari threw Melavsky from the car and ran over her.

Pathologists on both sides of the case were unable to agree on whether the cause of death was a blow to the head or being run over by a car.

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