Amb. Friedman: More building is right response to Esther Horgan’s murder

The American ambassador encouraged the Horgan family in a condolence visit.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Sunday in a condolence visit to the Horgan family that the only proper response to the Palestinian terrorist who murdered their mother, Esther, last week is to expand her Samarian community of Tal Menashe.

Speaking to Esther’s husband, Benjamin, he said, “Sadly, the murder of your wife Esther will lead to the enlargement of the community, it will be the effect of the murder. It is a shame that it needs to happen like this. She was murdered because she belonged to the Jewish people, and the only correct response is to remain here and thrive.”

Talk of construction in the face of terrorism is a right-wing mainstay in Israel. Before becoming ambassador, Friedman, a partner in law firm, was the volunteer head of a charity that supported the Benjamin region village of Bet El, and was an outspoken supporter of the settlement movement. He was also a significant voice who helped push President Donald Trump to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the American embassy there from Tel Aviv in 2018.

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In making this statement, Friedman was echoing Benjamin’s own words. When President Reuven Rivlin paid a condolence call to the family on Thursday, he had told the president that the family’s consolation would be if the government approved doubling the size of their 107-home village.

“I think it would be right for us to try as much as possible to grow Tal Menashe and the area,” he said to Friedman. “The enemy is trying to bring us down to harm us and we need to stand ground. They want us to leave, they want us to be scared, so we’ll prove them wrong.”

Horgan was killed last Sunday in the nature reserve right next to her home in Tal Menashe. The Shin Bet captured the 40-year-old perpetrator four days later. He has already confessed to the crime, telling the investigators that he had waited in the forest for a potential victim, caught Esther out on a power walk, and struck her head with a rock several times before hiding the body and fleeing the scene.

The man, from a village near Jenin, has a history of anti-Israel activity. It is possible that he acted alone in this case as no terrorist organization has claimed that the murder was done specifically in its name. All details are still a matter of speculation as a gag order has been placed on the investigation.