The dead body of 69-year-old Elkana resident Reuven Schmerling HY”D was found in the industrial area of the Israeli Arab municipality of Kfar Kassam on Wednesday, erev Sukkos, during the afternoon hours. According to police, there were “signs of violence” on the body. Initially, it was reported that he had been beaten and stabbed. A court placed a gag order on details of the active investigation on erev yomtov. The probe is being led by the Shin Bet.
According to the family, the victim, who planned to celebrate his70th birthday on the first day of yomtov, owned a coal business in Kfar Kassam. The body was discovered by a son of the victim in storage unit of his business. He was pronounced dead on the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics. A Channel 2 News report stated he was dead for hours before being discovered.
While the community of Elkana is certain the attack was an act of terrorism, other motives, including a possible business dispute, are being probed by investigators.
According to Assaf Mizner, who heads the Elkana Local Council, Reuven, who was known for his chazonos on Yom Kippur and being an active member of the tzibur, is survived by his wife, four children and 17 grandchildren. Mizner, who appears in the accompanying video, explains the community is in profound shock after learning of the murder.
The family was planning to celebrate the special birthday together on yomtov. The photo of the tee-shirt shows “Saba Moti, Happy 70th and you’re still young”.
The court-imposed gag order prevents publishing additional details in the ongoing investigation.
The levaya has been announced for Friday, the first day of Chol Hamoed Sukkos in Eretz Yisrael; beginning at the Moreshet Yehudit Shul in the “80” neighborhood of Elkana, at 13:45.
Published motzei the first Day of Sukkos from Eretz Yisrael.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem/Photo Credit: MDA & ZAKA)