Dad knifed for saying 'be quiet' in horror weekend

By Ben Hartman, May 10, 2012
Senseless murder: Vichman

Senseless murder: Vichman

A bloody weekend in which five Israelis were murdered has shocked the nation and left the police, the government and the school system scrambling to provide answers to the public.

Late on Friday night in Beersheva, Gadi Vichman, 36, was having trouble getting his two-year-old daughter to sleep because of the noise coming from a group of youths drinking in the courtyard below. He went downstairs to ask the group to be quiet, having pleaded with them from his balcony.

Moments later, a young man head-butted Mr Vichman and stabbed him in the chest. The father of two was dead within seconds.

The murder struck home for most Israelis, who can relate to being kept up at night by rowdy teenagers drinking into the early hours with police nowhere in sight.

Elsewhere over the weekend, a 19-year-old was stabbed to death in Nazareth; a 27-year-old Bat Yam man on house arrest was murdered by an assailant who climbed a ladder and shot him through his first floor window; a 24-year-old man was shot and killed in the Bedouin village of Arur; and, on Saturday, a 17-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Rehovot.

During a meeting with Mr Vichman's widow, Michal, on Monday, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich vowed to do whatever he could to stop such incidents reoccurring. He said: "The unfathomable ease with which these criminals take the lives of others cannot continue."

Mr Aharonovich vowed to install CCTV in city centres and high-crime areas, and to expand a 13-city pilot programme which gives municipal clerks police powers.

He also said that his ministry would probe police conduct on the night of Mr Vichman's murder, after his widow said the family had repeatedly called police and no patrol cars arrived.

Israel's top cop, Inspector-General Yochanan Danino, laid the blame at the feet of the government on Sunday, which he said has not increased the number of police officers since 1994.

In a special cabinet meeting held on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to submit a decision to the cabinet in two weeks to increase the number of police officers in Israel, in particular in the north and in the Arab sector.

Last updated: 3:22pm, May 10 2012