The mystery of the stabbing attack near Beit Shemesh continued to swell Monday as members of the missionary organization CMJ, to which murder victim Kristine Luken belonged, expressed their certainty that she had died in a terror attack.
Kay Wilson, Luken's friend, told police after her escape from the attack that she believed it had been nationalistically motivated.
"We told the police that Kay is a serious and honest person who doesn't make up stories," Reverend David Pileggi of CMJ, short for 'The Church's Ministry among Jewish people', told Ynet. He said the organization would hold a memorial ceremony for Luken on Thursday.
Luken, who died at age 46, was born in Texas but recently moved to Nottingham, England, where she worked for the CMJ. She first came to Israel in 2007 as part of a Christian pilgrimage to visit holy sites.
On CMJ's website, Luken described the tour as deepening her understanding of the holy verse as well as her relationship with God.
Luken's body finally found (Photo: Ohad Zoigenberg)
The visit caused her to become a full-fledged member of the group, and she soon left her Texas home for England and began to tour Israel more frequently. "She would go for work trips and help develop our museums and centers in Jerusalem," Pileggi said.
"She loved Israel, the culture, and especially the history of the Jewish people," he added.
Luken met Kay Wilson last August on the CMJ trip to Poland. "I was their group's guide at the death camps and the Jewish community centers. They immediately connected with each other and identified with the story of the Jewish people, and became best friends. They both had a similar outlook on life and were very popular and funny, it was only natural for them to become friends. They also spoke of taking a trip to Israel together," Pileggi recounted.
But no one in the CMJ had been notified of Luken's visit to Israel apart from Wilson. "I suppose she didn't tell anyone she was coming because she knew that if she did, work would be found for her to do at the offices in Jerusalem," the reverend surmised.
Pileggi's main concern is that Kay's testimony be believed by the authorities investigating the mystery. "The impression I got from the police was that they weren't certain about Kay's story and did not believe her account," he said.
Now the reverend is fielding phone calls from Luken's friends, family members and associates. "Everyone is completely shocked," he said. "No one seems to be able to grasp this disaster."