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How Not to Kill Your Israeli Ex-Husband

A real-life guide to the criminally perplexed

Liel Leibovitz
July 05, 2017

This being Tablet, it’s not entirely impossible that you, dear reader, may have an Israeli husband. And we Israeli men being, shall we say, a touch obdurate, it’s also not entirely impossible that when it comes to said Israeli husband, you may be contemplating murder. If you are, the following story is for you.

It began, like so many of our contemporary tragedies, with an ad on Craigslist, looking for an aspiring actress in Oklahoma for a “10 day gig overseas.” No previous experience was needed, and the pay promised was “competitive.” The only requirements were “boldness and bravery.” Intrigued, a local woman named Tinsley Keefe replied to the ad, and was summoned to a meeting in a coffee shop. The woman awaiting her there was Danielle Dana Layman, 37, an Israeli expatriate who immediately introduced herself as an agent of the Mossad.

Keefe’s mission, she said, should she choose to accept it, was to travel to Tel Aviv and assassinate a taxi driver who lived there. The man, Layman assured Keefe, pretended to be an ordinary Israeli, but was really a secret agent of ISIS. Oh, and, coincidentally, also Layman’s estranged ex-husband, a fact she had neglected to mention at the time.

Like all cold-blooded professional spymasters, Layman conveyed her cunning plan as spooks the world over do—in a PowerPoint presentation. The idea, she told Keefe, was to hire the driver for a week, and then slowly poison him by placing ricin, a potent toxin, in his coffee.

Keefe, bless her, went straight to the FBI. “I was like, ‘Why would you ask me?’” she later told local TV station Fox25. “And she said because she was recruited back when she was in college, she’d been doing it for a number of years, but couldn’t do it this time around because she was pregnant.” Searching Layman’s home, the federal agents found dozens of castor beans, which are used to produce ricin, as well as a mortar and pestle and instructions on how to make the poison Layman printed from the Internet. She is now in custody, and the rest of you entertaining homicide have been warned.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.