Thousands gather in Jerusalem to remember murdered teen Ori Ansbacher


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Thousands of Israelis gathered in Jerusalem to remember Ori Ansbacher, a 19-year-old who was killed in a nationalist attack while hiking.

More than 6,000 people gathered Tuesday evening at the First Station, a cultural and recreation area, for a memorial dubbed “A City Wrapped in Light” — Ori is Hebrew for “my light.” They were joined by marchers, mostly youths, who took the path from where Ansbacher was killed in the forest outside of Ain Yael, a Jerusalem nature preserve where she was working with children for her year of national service.

Well-known Israeli artists including Ehud Banai and Amir Benayoun performed, as did the Shalva Band. Musician Shlomo Shabat set a poem written by Ansbacher, called “A World of Peace,” to music. Several of the teen’s friends spoke.

“You decided to heal the hearts of at-risk youth, to touch those in pain and to heal them with love. 13 days ago, on that Thursday, in the heart of a grove at the edge of Jerusalem, your life was shattered and your light snuffed out in a moment. Your dreams faded away, your words blossomed and fell there, on the land you loved so much,” Eliasaf Peretz, the son of Israel Prize laureate Miriam Peretz and an organizer of the event, said.

On Wednesday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended the remand of the Palestinian man arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting and murdering Ansbacher.

Arafat Irfaiya, 29, was arrested two days after the Feb. 7 attack, and he re-enacted the attack and murder for authorities, according to reports. Forensic evidence found at the scene had tied the Hebron man to the murder.

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