Though sources in Israel’s security establishment believe that the murder of the late Reuven Schmerling, found dead inside of a storage unit in Kafr Qasem, was nationalistically motivated, the residents of Kafr Qasem find it difficult to believe that the murderer came from their city: “We are shocked and condemn the act, our good relationship with the Jews will continue.”

The scene where Schmerling's body was found

The scene where Schmerling’s body was found Photo Credit: MDA/ Channel 2 News

The Israel Police is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the murder of Reuven Schmerling, a resident of Elkana, whose body was found inside of a storage unit in the nearby Arab city Kafr Qasem. Senior officials in the city denounced the act and called to bring the culprits to justice, but also claimed that the police conduct things differently when it is a Jew who is murdered.

Adel Badir, the mayor of Kafr Qasem, said in an interview with the Army Radio this morning that “it seems that the motivation for the heinous murder was a financial dispute, criminally motivated,” and not nationalistically motivated as investigators have indicated. Badir added that “every murder in Kafr Qasem or Rosh Ha’ayin or Petah Tikva is abhorrent and disgraceful, everyone should condemn them- it doesn’t matter if the murderer is a Jew or an Arab and if the victim is an Arab or a Jew.”

Adel Badir, mayor of Kafr Qasem

Adel Badir, mayor of Kafr Qasem Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

“We rely on the police to bring those responsible to justice. I am in charge of the safety of all of the residents and of anyone who enters the Kafr Qasem area,” he added. “If it’s a criminal motivation, it is less serious?  Murder is murder and it should not happen.” Badir claimed that Kafr Qasem’s industrial zone is “the most secure in the center [of the country],” but noted that over the past 16 years, 16 murders had been committed in the city, and “the murderer was not found in either of them.”

“The wonderful residents of Kafr Qasem welcome everyone who enters with a wonderful reception, they know how to live with the other,” added Badir, who sent his condolences to the Schmerling family. In an interview with Channel 2 News, Badir said that “our city is a perfect example of a city of coexistence, 300 businesses are rented out to Jews and I’m sure that no one from Kafr Qasem was involved in this incident, not if it was nationalistically motivated and not if it was because of a financial dispute. Kafr Qasem’s good relationship with the Jews will continue.”