Police accused of covering up rabbi's murder

Tuesday, April 05, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

The March 23 Jerusalem terror bombing dominated headlines, but earlier that day there was another possible incident of terrorist violence that Israel’s police are for some reason determined to bury.

After driving his son from their home in the Golan Heights to the boy’s high school in central Samaria, Rabbi Moshe Talbi decided to visit his daughter and son-in-law at the nearby Jewish community of Revava.

He never made it.

Hours later, Talbi’s body was found next to his still-running vehicle just outside Revava. He had been killed by a single shot to the head, apparently with his own gun, which police found at his side.

Following a 20-minute investigation of the scene, police determined it was a case of suicide, and the matter was tucked away with little or no media coverage.

But Talbi’s family is now fighting to force the police to re-investigate the case, and to acknowledge the evidence that suggests his death was an act of Palestinian terrorism.

To that end, the family hired a professional pathologist, who wrote to government officials that bruise marks consistent with a violent struggle were found on Talbi’s face and knees. The pathologist also found four bullet casings at the scene, and noted that while Talbi had been shot from the right side, his gun was found lying on his left.

Additionally, the family noted that Talbi simply had no motivation to commit suicide. He was not in financial trouble, he was happily married with seven children, and had no enemies in his community.

The more likely scenario, according to the family and their pathologist, is that Talbi was approached by someone pretending to need help. When the person or persons approaching him turned violent, Talbi pulled out his gun and a struggle ensued. The attackers overpowered Talbi, and used is own gun to kill him.

But it is incredibly difficult for the family to prove any of this, as the police have refused to release any files pertaining to the case.

In the meantime, Talbi bears the black mark of having committed suicide, and his family feels a great deal of public shame over that, on top of the tragedy of losing their husband, father and grandfather.

The entire episode has raised questions regarding the conduct of the police department.

The Israel Police, which has historically been left-leaning when it comes to political matters, has often been antagonistic toward Jews living in Judea and Samaria, the so-called “West Bank.” Violent crimes perpetrated by Palestinian Arabs against local Jews are rarely taken seriously (though the IDF often steps in and takes care of business), while nearly every allegation of “settler” misconduct is vigorously investigated.

There are concerns that the police are covering up Rabbi Talbi’s murder at the hands of Palestinian terrorists in order to prevent further Israeli outrage over Palestinian behavior, as well as any sympathy for the Jews of the area.

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