In an interview with Channel 2 News, Shai Schmerling, the son of the late Reuven Schmerling, recalled discovering his father in a storage unit in Kafr Qasim. Yesterday, the Shin Bet announced that the murder was nationalistically-motivated.

Reuven Schmerling and the scene of the murder

Reuven Schmerling and the scene of the murder Photo Credit: MDA/Elkana Regional Council/Channel 2 News

Shai Schmerling was on his way to his parents’ home on the morning of Sukkot eve when his mother called him to tell him that his father was not answering his phone. Shai was very worried and headed to Kafr Qasim, where he found his father’s body in a storage unit. On Sunday, after it was cleared for publication that the murder was a nationalistically-motivated crime, Shai recalled the horrible day during an interview with Channel 2 News: “Anyone who saw [my] dad would have no doubt that the motive was nationalistic.”

“[My] mother called me and said that dad isn’t at home,” he stated. “She said that he left at 9:30 am, about the same time I spoke with him last. I quickly tried to call him another time. When I failed to reach him, I dropped everything, took the car and drove fast to the storage unit.”

“Throughout the short drive, I was thinking to myself- what do I prefer to discover that happened to him, meaning, I knew something bad happened but I was thinking about what would be better,” he continued. “For example, I throughout about cardiac arrest or a heart attack. I didn’t think at all about those possibilities [murder].”

When he arrived at the storage unit, Shai began to search the area, shouting: “Father, father! Where are you?” He entered the storage unit where his father was but did not see him, so he went outside and started searching the adjacent units. “The second time I returned to the room, I saw [my] father,” he said. Shai stated that he feels very bad that he did not see his father the first time he searched the storage unit: “I told my brother-in-law, ‘I’m so stupid, I could have maybe resuscitated him.’”

As JOL reported yesterday, two Palestinians from Qabatiya were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the murder of the late 70-year-old Reuven Schmerling. More than 1,000 people attended the funeral of Schmerling, who lived in the West Bank settlement of Elkana.