Yesterday (April 20th) part of the 90-minute taped reconstruction of the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir (16) was shown on the evening news on Channel 1, the Israeli public television channel. Both Ben David's public defender and Abu Khdeir's family approved the screening. The defense believes the reconstruction shows lack of premeditation and confusion; Abu Khdeir's family says that nothing will ease the pain of their loss.

According to moderator Tamar Almog Levi, the court approved screening of the tape in the hope that it will help people understand the meaning of vengeance murder. We hear the murderer himself describe how he instigated the crime, bringing along 2 cousins, minors, who were both convicted of murder and sentenced: one to life and the other to 20 years imprisonment.

Cold-hearted murder reconstruction

Yosef Haim Ben David (now 31) had a calm demeanor throughout the reconstruction of the murder.

He started to meander at times, describing his own thoughts and feelings during the carrying out of the abduction and murder but the investigators quickly turned him back to undiluted description of his actions.

Three Jewish teenage boys were abducted by Hamas operatives on June 12, 2014 and their bodies found on June 30. In the early hours of July 2, 2014, the day after their funeral, Ben David cruised the East Jerusalem area with his cousins looking for an Arab male to attack in revenge.

Ben David described seeing the teenager sitting alone; his 2 young cousins approached him under the guise of asking directions. Abu Khdeir apparently felt something was wrong and tried to use his cellphone and move away but then the murderers hit him, pulled him into the car and sped off. According to Almog Levi, Ben David said he drove normally once they reached the main road on the way to Jerusalem Forest in order not to arouse suspicion.

In a particularly chilling part of Ben David's account, he told investigators that he removed his yarmulka for the first time in his life in order not to desecrate the name of God (hillul hashem) while his cousins were strangling and hitting Abu Khdeir in the back of the car. By the time they got to the forest, the Arab teenager had lost consciousness.

In the forest, they took Abu Khdeir from the car and lay him on the ground.

Ben David described how he hit the boy over and over again, seeing in his mind's eye, not the teenager but the images of murdered Jewish children and families: the Fogels and Shalhevet Pass. Then he asked for a bottle of gasoline and poured it over the unconscious boy, kicking him several times. An absurd moment occurred when Ben David apologized to the police officer when he inadvertently kicked him while showing how he kicked the teenager.

Defense hoped reconstruction would help murderer

On the day before the screening of the reconstruction, Ben David was convicted of murder. He had tried to plead insanity but the court rejected that argument. The defense hoped that the reconstruction tape provided evidence of lack of premeditation on Ben David's part and justified a lesser charge, but this was rejected by the court partly because of his demeanor in the tape. Now the defense is hoping that the confusion and lack of premeditation will affect sentencing, to take place next month.

Victim's parents hoping for maximum sentence

Abu Khdeir's parents are hoping for the maximum sentence and would like to see Ben David's family home destroyed in the same way Israel destroys the homes of Arab Palestinian terrorists who murder Jews. Perhaps when Palestinians stop handing out candies in the streets after successful terrorist acts and when the Palestinian Authority tries and convicts murderers of Jews rather than naming streets after them, Israel will stop demolishing terrorists' homes.

The outbreak of war between Hamas in Gaza and Israel a few days after the funeral of the 3 Jewish teens and the murder of Abu Khdeir has been partly attributed to these abductions and murders.

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