Soldier Fatally Stabbed on Rosh Hashanah, Suspect Held

The fatal stabbing of a soldier Thursday morning marred a quiet Rosh Hashanah holiday in Israel. The victim, Alexander Arad, 43, was killed while trying to hitch a ride from Megiddo to his home in Kibbutz Ramot Menashe. He was buried Sunday at Ramot Menashe.

A suspect was arrested by border police shortly after the attack. He was identified as Jillal Haj Ibrahim, 23, of Yandun village, near Jenin in the West Bank. Ibrahim reportedly confessed after two bicyclists from Afula said they witnessed the crime and identified him as the killer.

Arad, married and the father of two children, aged four and five, came to Israel from Cuba 1961. A polio victim as a child, he overcame his disabilities and volunteered for service in the Israel Defense Force. He had been active in promoting better relations between Jews and Arabs.

The suspect has a record of previous security offenses for which he spent time in jail. He reportedly led police to the scene of the stabbing where he had buried his knife. No further details were available on the circumstances of the murder and the apprehension of the suspect.

ROW AT CABINET MEETING

The incident triggered an angry confrontation at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting as Police Minister Haim Barlev reviewed the overall security situation. Ariel Sharon, the Likud-Herut Minister of Commerce and Industry, was heard to mutter, “Why they kill Jews all over the country.” Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, sensing a slur, told Sharon to “Shut your mouth.”

Minister-Without-Portfolio Ezer Weizman, another Laborite, warned Sharon, “You wait and see how I kick you out of the government.” Weizman added that Arad’s death was “a terrible tragedy” but did not give Sharon the right to worsen the situation “with exaggerated and dangerous remarks.”

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