Last May, Michal Halimi, a 29-year-old Israeli woman, went missing. She was eight months pregnant. Two months later, in July, her body was discovered in Holon. An autopsy found that she had been strangled and beaten to death with a blunt object, and then buried in a nearby sand dune.
Investigating the murder, the police discovered that Halimi was having an affair with Muhammad Kharoff, a resident of the Palestinian Authority-run city of Nablus. Posting on social media, Halimi and Kharoff both professed their love, with the pregnant woman announcing her intention to leave her husband and marry her boyfriend. Halimi visited Kharoff in his home several times, even living there for short periods.
After Halimi’s body was discovered, Kharoff emerged as the prime suspect. At first, investigators assumed that he had murdered Halimi—who he met online when both were teenagers, long before her marriage—because she was looking to break up the affair. But on Sunday, Kharoff signed a plea bargain agreement, admitting that he had murdered Halimi as an act of terrorism. He told the court that he intended to kidnap Halimi with the intention of using her to demand the release of Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel, but ended up murdering her “out of nationalistic motives, as she was Jewish.”
As a resident of the Palestinian Authority, Kharoff is now eligible to considerable compensation that Mahmoud Abbas’s government pays terrorists who murdered Jews. On average, terrorists who, like Kharoff, have been sentenced to life in prison are eligible to NIS 12,000 each month, or about $3,364, for a total of $40,368, about five times as much as the average Palestinian’s salary.
Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.