‘He was murdered,’ says family of IDF reservist found shot

Har-Lev’s family released a statement dismissing the possibility that he committed suicide and asking the police to investigate the death as a murder.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The family of Lt. Col. (Res.) Dr. Avi Har-Lev, who was found dead last week of a gunshot wound in his vehicle in the Lahav Forest, has stated that they reject initial findings that the death was a suicide.

Har-Lev, 50, was the director of the Fertility and IVF Department at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon and a prominent researcher who contributed some 45 articles to medical journals.

He was returning to his home in Sansana, a town in northern Judea and Samaria that he helped found, after reserve duty in the IDF when his body was discovered.

Calling their father an optimistic man who had recently made plans for the future, Har-Lev’s family released a statement dismissing the possibility that he committed suicide and asking the police to investigate the death as a murder.

“We reject the unfounded rumors about the circumstances of Avi’s death that have been prevalent since his death,” read the statement. “We were convinced from the first moment that Avi was murdered.”

“We call on the Israel Police to thoroughly examine all directions of the investigation, including the possibility of a nationalist incident.

“It should be noted that in similar incidents in the past (such as in the murders of the late Rabbi Moshe Talbi and the late Yaron Gispen), the initial impression of the investigators, that it was a suicide, turned out to be incorrect.

“Especially in this case, when Avi was on his way from reserve service and wearing IDF uniform, a comprehensive and exhaustive examination is called for,” the statement said.

Mount Hebron Regional Council Chairman Yochai Damari supported the family with his own statement, saying, “I call on the security forces to carefully investigate the possibility that this was [terrorism].

“Lahav Forest is a commonly used route for illegal [Palestinian] residents crossing from the Hebron area [over the Green Line], and it is possible that one of them spotted a Lt. Colonel in uniform and decided to attack.”

Esther Horgan, a mother of six from Tel Menashe, was murdered in a terrorist attack in the Lahav Forest in December 2020.

“Dr. Har-Lev stood out at Barzilai as a beloved man with a huge heart and a captivating personality that impressed and won the hearts of everyone who knew him – staff members and patients alike,” said Barzilai Hospital in a statement.

“Dr. Har-Lev gave wholeheartedly to his colleagues and patients, and everyone who met him could not help but be impressed by his magnetism and personality.”

Har-Lev is survived by his wife, Shulamit, their five children Ron, Moriya, Lavi, Maor, and Hadar Shira, and two grandchildren.