Chairman of the Jaffa Orthodox Church Association, Attorney Gabriel Cadis, was murdered Friday evening following the annual Christmas procession of Christian Orthodox worshippers marking the holiday.
Around 6:30 pm, the police received a report about a man who was stabbed in Jaffa's Yefet street. Eyewitnesses reported seeing an unidentified man wearing a Santa Clause outfit stabbing Cadis in his back and fleeing the scene. Cadis then shouted: "I've been stabbed," and collapsed to the floor.
Six suspects have been detained in connection with the murder.
Large police forces and emergency services deployed to the scene and transported Cadis, who was in critical condition, to Wolfson Medical Center. He later dies of his wounds. Due to the sensitive nature of the case, the Police handed the investigation over to the Central Investigations Unit.
"This is a shock to Jaffa and a hard blow to the Christian community. We had a successful procession. Cadis made a speech and everything was fine until he all the sudden this happened. We are shocked because we can't imagine who would want to hurt him," said Tel Aviv Council member Ahmad Masarweh.
Unlike the Catholics and Protestants, Christian Orthodox mark Christmas on January 7th.
Investigators are looking into the possibility that Cadis was murdered over a real estate dispute or power struggles within the Jaffa Orthodox Church Association.
A member of Jaffa's Christian community told Ynet that Cadis had won the elections for head of the association three weeks ago. "The election campaign was very tense. It was the third time the deceased had won the elections. We suspect the murder is linked to the elections," he said.
Hassan Shaalan contributed to this report