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Young Woman Who Befriended Arabs is Victim of Murder in West Bank

September 8, 1988
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

This is the story about the price of naivete — the story of a young woman who believed that human beings are above all humans, and not necessarily Jews and Arabs.

She had no doubts. She was so convinced that relations between the two peoples are only a function of how they treat each other, how they talk to each other, that she had set herself no barriers.

Ziva Goldovsky, 18, used to have as many Palestinian friends as she had Jewish friends in the, radical leftist circles in which she had spent most of her youth in Holon.

At the height of the Palestinian uprising, she traveled freely in the West Bank, hitching rides with Arab cars, socializing with Palestinian youths and eventually falling in love with one.

“Nothing will happen to me,” she promised her worried parents. “I know them, I know how to talk to them.” The parents tried to convince her that although they respected her liberal views, she should be more cautious. But she would not listen.

On Aug. 13, her body was found, totally burned, on a farm near the industrial zone of the Arab town of El-Bireh, some 20 miles north of Jerusalem.

At first, rumors spread that this was the body of a Palestinian boy killed by the security forces. Then it was believed that the victim was a Palestinian girl.

It took further investigation and laboratory tests to reveal the actual tragedy: that the farm near El-Bireh was to be the last stop on the journey of a young Jewish woman who was a victim of her own belief in the good of humankind.


On Wednesday, police announced they had solved the murder, after a lengthy investigation in a hostile environment. According to a police communique, two suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder, both known for their contacts with the victim.

One of them confessed that he killed the young woman. Another is suspected of having helped the prime suspect to remove the body and burn it. The prime suspect reportedly led the police officers to a place where they found keys, a purse and documents belonging to the victim.

Ziva Goldovsky was raised in Holon, far away from the scene of violence. But coming from a liberal home, she became politically involved, engaged herself in pro-Palestinian activities and made a number of acquaintances with Arabs.

She supported the Palestinian uprising, and was enraged at the almost daily reports of violent encounters between the security forces and the local population. She had faith that once political differences are set aside, there would be no justification for fear.

According to the police version of the murder, reportedly based on the prime suspect’s own confession, Goldovsky’s last encounter with an Arab began with a minor exchange, as she and an Arab friend took a walk deep into remote areas of the farm.


The Arab — not the young man she was romantically involved with — began with remarks on her immodest attire, then charged that she was an agent for the security forces. When she denied this, he said: “Prove it.”

Goldovsky asked: “How can I prove it?”

Said the Arab: “Get me a pistol.”

She replied: “I will not give you a pistol so that you can shoot Jewish children.”

This prompted the suspect to slap the young woman in the face.

Goldovsky apparently still believed, even at this gesture of violence, that straight talk could do it. “My parents have never slapped me,” she told her friend, “and neither will you.”

But the suspect then allegedly pushed her down, strangled her and eventually struck her head with a heavy rock. He then called a friend, and together they burned the body.

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