Two days after Yosef Ben-David, 30, was found guilty of the murder of 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, Channel 10 broadcast a chilling reconstruction of the murder in which the killer details exactly how it transpired.
Ben-David described how he and his two accomplices selected their victim and recounted the smallest details of how Abu Khdeir was murdered.
“We didn’t see a minor, we saw a man. He was tall and he was wearing a hood,” Ben-David said before elaborating on how the convicted trio kidnapped him.
Ben-David said that when Abu Khdeir was asked how to get to Tel Aviv or the Damascus Gate, he responded: "I am an Arab. I don’t understand."
"We covered his mouth so he couldn’t talk and put him in the car. The door didn’t close because his leg was blocking it. So we uncovered his mouth, and as a result he screamed,” Ben-David recounted.
In a state of panic, one of Ben-David's co-conspirators told him, "I am choking him (Abu Khdeir)."
"I said that maybe we should leave (Abu Khdeir), put him on the side (of the road) and forget it.”
All the while Abu Khdeir couldn't breathe, he said. Asked to re-enact how this was done, Ben-David replied: “I don’t want to demonstrate on a Jew.”
As the reconstruction proceeded, Ben-David took the investigators to the exact place where he took his victim and struck him with a crow-bar while exclaiming: “This is for the Fogel family, this is for Shalhevet Pass (a Jewish baby shot in 2001 by a Palestinian sniper - ed.).”
Ben-David then demanded that he be brought the the bottle of gasoline: “I poured it all over him. One bottle, one liter. I lit a lighter and didn’t think about anything. In one second he was aflame.”
Before the three kidnapped Abu Khdeir, they also attacked an Arab family. “We decided that we will go for a woman, attack her and go. She won’t bring any more terrorists into the world,” Ben-David continued. “She was walking with a stroller with two children. One on her right was wearing a white t-shirt and the second on the left was wearing a yellow shirt. We grabbed the boy in white by his throat and the second boy tried to kick us.”
After the woman began screaming and resisting, one of the gang punched her in the face which “sent her about three meters and she screamed and screamed. He then got back into the car and we drove off,” he recalled.
The three then contemplated their next victim and resolved “to simply take someone. We turned on the radio in Arabic, so that they wouldn’t recognize us. We were always taught to bless God’s name and not shame it. This is something which I always keep in mind. So we took off our kippah (yarmulke) for the first time in our lives so that we didn’t shame God’s name,” said Ben-David.
Shortly after this they spotted Abu Khdeir. “I said to them: yes, yes, yes him. Excellent. Excellent.”
After they set Abu Khdeir on fire, he explained “I took off the Arab’s sandals. I put them one on top of the other. We each washed our hands in the sprinklers and freshened up."
The Jerusalem District Court convicted Ben-David of murder on Tuesday after the protracted legal proceedings were delayed for months by psychiatric evaluations purporting that the defendant was clinically insane and that he was not responsible for his actions. However, the plea was disregarded after a court-appointed psychiatric evaluation rejected the assertion.
Abu Khdeir was murdered in July 2014 in revenge for the kidnapping and murder of the three teenagers, Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach. Indeed, a day before Abu Khdeir’s murder, Ben-David and his accomplices attempted to kidnap seven-year-old Mussa Zalum as he walked with his mother and two brothers in Beit Hanina. The three scouted the area until they arrived at the Shuafat neighborhood in East Jerusalem, where they argued for twenty minutes about who to kidnap. “Let’s kidnap a minor. A woman screams more than a man,” one of them suggested.
Close to 3:45pm, they spotted Aby Khdeir. Two of them exited the vehicle and glanced at him to confirm that he was an Arab. Suspicious of the three, Abu Khdeir called his uncle and attempted to distance himself before they hit him and forced him into the car. During the struggle which ensued, Khdeir kicked one of his attackers in the head who shouted “finish him!”