Israel in shock over Anglo family killings

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 30, 2008
Michael Fisher with baby Yarden

Michael Fisher with baby Yarden

Israeli police are still searching for a motive for a triple killing and suicide in which a policeman apparently shot his wife and two young children before turning his gun on himself.

Leeds-born Michael Fisher apparently shot his wife Hila, 30, and children Yuval, three, and Yarden, eight weeks, in their flat in Hod Hasharon last week.

Although forensic evidence proved beyond doubt that Fisher was the killer, there are still no clear signs as to any motive. On Sunday, investigators removed the family's computer, mobile phones, letters and financial documents and even paintings by Yuval, in an attempt to learn something new on the relationship between the couple that might serve as an explanation.

They also collected the computers used at work by the husband and wife, both police officers. Mr Fisher had worked for years with juvenile criminals and had recently started work in the special branch of the police's central district. The investigation team questioned many of their colleagues in an attempt to piece together Mr Fisher's psychological profile.

One reason that has been raised in the Israeli media is that one of the couple might have been considering filing for divorce. Friends of the family also conjectured that there might be a connection between Mr Fisher's actions and his father Ray's suicide a year earlier. Ray Fisher was a pillar of the Anglo community in Ra'anana, and a former chairman of the Association of British Immigrants, who killed himself last August - only a few weeks before his eldest daughter Karyn's wedding - after a long battle with cancer.

After leaving Leeds in 1982 when Michael was three, the Fishers lived in the absorption centre at Mevasseret Zion before moving to Rishon leZion, Ramat Hasharon and finally Ra'anana. Ray had been a teacher in Leeds and became a travel agent in Israel. From his early days in the country, he served in the police civilian volunteers unit, continuing until recent years as a voluntary officer in the traffic police.

Michael followed in his father's footsteps and did his army service in the Border Police, becoming a detective after his discharge. Hila was the daughter of a senior police commander.

Last week's deaths caused shockwaves throughout the Anglo community in the Sharon area.

"We are talking about a family that was just salt of the earth," said Alan Marks of Netanya, who knew the family back in Leeds and remained a close friend. "I just can't get my mind around what happened, can't understand it at all. There has to be some kind of reason, they were just such special people, I knew Michael as a child and know how he was raised, as a dedicated member of society and humankind, just like his father."

Hila and her two children were buried last Friday morning in Hod Hasharon Cemetery while Michael was buried separately in Ra'anana. His mother, Valerie, gave interviews to the Israeli media on Saturday night in which she said of her son that "he was such a calm, even-tempered person. Something sent him over the edge. He totally flipped. I'm sad that he did it."


Last updated: 6:10pm, October 30 2008