Israeli woman murdered in Australia buried in hometown


JERUSALEM (JTA) — 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 of Aiia Maasarwe, to accompany her body to a local cemetery.

Maasarwe, 21, was killed a week ago in Melbourne. Her father, Saeed, had flown to Australia to bring her home for burial.

It took nearly a week for the Victorian coroner and Australian police to release her body, 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.”

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 the phone was knocked from Maasarwe’s hand. 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 with murder and rape.

Several vigils were held for Maasarwe in Melbourne. In Israel, demonstrators at a rally accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the government of not doing enough to return the slain woman’s body.

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