eliyahuEliyahu Asheri
1988 – 2006

Eliyahu Pinchas Asheri was an Israeli student from the settlement of Itamar, in the northern West Bank. He was a student at the religious pre-army Mechina (preparatory program) “Elisha” in Neveh Tzuf. His father Yitro Asheri, originally from Adelaide, was converted by St Kilda’s Rabbi Philip Heilbrunn in 1986. Yitro Asheri had moved from the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg to the Jewish centre of North Adelaide at the time of his conversion. About six months after his conversion he moved to Israel. He first settled in kibbutz Sde Eliyahu where he learned some Hebrew and later moved to a yeshiva headed by Rabbi Haim Druckman. The Asheri family were one of the founding members of Itamar and have lived there from 1991.

On Sunday, June 25, 2006, Eliyahu was kidnapped while on his way from Beitar Illit to Neveh Tzuf, northwest of Ramallah.

On Tuesday, June 27, 2006, Eliyahu’s father, Yitro Asheri, initially submitted a missing-person report about his son to the Ariel Police. According to Yitro he did not report his son’s absence for two days because Eliyahu used to regularly disappear for extended periods in the past without keeping daily contact with his parents. Asheri was last seen on 9:00 pm Sunday night, after he left the home of a friend in Betar Illit and was hitchhiking near the French Hill intersection of Jerusalem by one of his classmates.

Asheri’s body was found on June 29th 2006 in an open field near the village of Beitunia
In addition, on Tuesday, the Palestinian militant group Popular Resistance Committees initially announced that the group has kidnapped a Jewish settler in the West Bank.

On Wednesday, June 28, Abu Abir, the spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees, stated that Asheri would be “butchered in front of TV cameras” if Israel did not suspend its Operation Summer Rains into the Gaza Strip, which took place is in response to the kidnapping of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) corporal Gilad Shalit. Later on that day the Popular Resistance Committees stated that Asheri was slain.

Around 2:30 am on June 29, the IDF recovered the body of Asheri which had been buried in an open field near the village of Beitunia, not far from Ramallah. Asheri’s body was later transferred to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute for a forensic investigation. The forensic investigation revealed that Asheri he was shot to death by a bullet to the head from close range, possibly the same day in which he was abducted. The IDF had been led to the site by the Palestinian militant Wasam Abu Ragila, whom was a prime suspect of the murder of Asheri, whom had been arrested on Wednesday by the Israeli police anti-terror unit and IDF troops and whom confessed in his investigation about his part in the kidnapping and murder of Asheri and gave specific details about the location of Asheri’s body.

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