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Killer of Rav Abuchatzeira Deemed Fit to Stand Trial

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Asher Dahan, who murdered Rav Abuchatzeira last summer, will stand trial for his actions.Asher Dahan – who murdered the revered kabbalist Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira in Beersheba last summer in a crime that shocked the Orthodox Jewish community both in Israel and around the world – has been judged emotionally fit to stand trial by the Beersheba District Court, which accepted the opinion of psychiatrists after they conducted a full evaluation of the perpetrator. Denying his lawyer’s contention that Dahan is mentally ill, the medical panel determined that Dahan had the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong at the time he committed the murder.

Dahan had apparently killed the 70-year-old sage because he was angry that the rabbi’s marital advice did not work. Taking a 14-inch knife from the room of Rav Abuchatzeira’s son when he went to visit the rabbi to obtain new advice, the 42-year-old Dahan hid the weapon in the pocket of his pants so that he could pull it out with relative ease. The assailant then approached Rav Abuchatzeira – also known as the Baba Elazar – and gave him a note, while mumbling the phrase “In the name of Hashem, we will act and succeed.” While the sage read the note, Dahan stabbed him repeatedly in the chest, ultimately killing him.

Referring to a recent determination by a district psychiatrist in Beersheba that Dahan was mentally ill and should thus be transferred from prison to a hospital, defense attorney Kati Zwetkov said that the psychiatrists’ judgment was “baffling.” Zwetkov disclosed that she expects to submit another opinion to the court, which will state that her client has been shown to be not responsible for his actions and is therefore not fit to stand trial.
A grandson of the legendary tzaddik known as the Baba Sali, Rav Abuchatzeira was famed for his strict religious piety and received countless visitors on a regular basis seeking his blessings and counsel.

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