Cleared for publication: Gregory Rabinowitz, 56, a taxi driver whose body was found in May near the community of Gan Yavne, east of Ashdod, was killed in a terror attack.
A joint investigation of the Shin Bet and Lachish Subdistrict Police revealed that Rabinowitz, a resident of Ashdod, was mugged and strangled to death by two Palestinians.
Mahmad Maraneh and Muhammad Khaledi, two residents of Arranah, a Palestinian village near the West Bank city of Jenin, were arrested and later confessed to the act.
Rabinowitz's body was found bound on the city's outskirts, with evidence suggesting he was subjected to severe violence. The state of his remains suggested a nationalistically-motivated act.
The defense establishment was able to ascertain the premise two week later, as it arrested two 22-year-old Palestinians as murder suspects. The two were arrested by the IDF's Haredi Nahal forces and a SWAT team.
Maraneh and Khaledi confessed to the act during their interrogation, telling security forces that they entered Israel as illegal aliens, "picked" Rabinowitz as a random target, had him drive to a secluded location and murdered him.
Their motive, they said, was the fact that he was Jewish and that they wanted to avenge the death of a relative – an Islamic Jihad operative who was killed by IDF forces in February 2007.