Briton stabbed to death in Jerusalem

Shmuel Mett, from Golders Green, north London, was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife two months before he was due to get married in England.

Mr Mett, an ultra-Orthodox rabbinical student at Jerusalem's Mir Yeshiva religious college, was with his close friend Sam Weissbart, 22, also from Golders Green, when the attack happened on David Street. Mr Weissbart, also a yeshiva student, was stabbed but escaped to a nearby police station. He was recovering yesterday in the Shaare Zedek hospital.

David Street, one of the main alleys leading into the heart of the Old City, runs through the Christian Quarter, which is mainly populated by Christian Arabs. But Jews frequently go through it to pray at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, without being attacked or threatened.

Relatives of Mr Weissbart said that a man jumped out at him shouting something he could not understand.

He said that he thought he had been punched before realising that he was bleeding from a wound just above the hip bone. He had not seen what had happened to Mr Mett, whom he had known from childhood.

The murder was caught on one of the many CCTV cameras throughout the Old City and police were reported to be taking a photograph of the assailant round the neighbourhood in an effort to find him. Police said last night that a third yeshiva student, whom they did not identify, had been walking with the two men and had come forward to give information.

The dead man's parents, Percy and Judith, flew immediately to Israel from London for the funeral yesterday evening at the Mir Yeshiva in the ultra orthodox Beit Israel neighbourhood. More than 1,000 yeshiva students and local residents attended the funeral, conducted in Yiddish and Hebrew, along with eminent scholars and leading rabbis attached to the yeshiva. Mir Yeshiva is currently on holiday but is normally attended by 4000 to 5000 students and is one of the leading centres of Talmudic scholarship in world Jewry.

One leading mourner sobbed as he cried out in Yiddish: "Why do the disciples of the wise die when they are so small?"

Mr Mett's fiancée, Dina Rosenfeld, whom he was due to marry in two months, was understood to have remained in London.

Earlier, Daniel Harrington, a 22-year-old American traveller from Spokane, Washington, said he had heard a "commotion" at around 8.30pm on Wednesday and had left the Petra hostel where he was staying to see what had happened. He said that he had been at the scene for about four minutes when the police arrived and started to move people back.

Mr Harrington said the blade appeared to be in Mr Mett's stomach and that there appeared to be blood running from a second wound on his leg. He added: "When I arrived he was still breathing and he had colour, but by the time the police moved me on he was as white as a sheet."

Students at the yeshiva, largely foreigners unable to go home for the August break, were among demonstrators on Wednesday evening at the Hadassah Ein Karem hospital where Mr Mett had been taken, protesting at reported police plans to hold an autopsy, which ultra-Orthodox Jews regard as forbidden by their religion.

In the face of the protests - and the resistance of Mr Mett's sister, who lives in Israel - police announced yesterday morning that they would not be holding an autopsy but instead there would be a "visual inspection" of Mr Mett's wounds by a doctor approved by the dead man's family.

At the yeshiva, fellow students, who declined to give their names, spoke of Mr Mett as a "smiley, quiet, boy who was very serious about studies". One student, also from Golders Green, said: "Shmuel was one of those people who was impossible to dislike. This is a tragic, tragic thing." The student said that both Mr Mett and Mr Weissbart had regularly attended the Hagers synagogue in Golders Green.

One family friend, who asked for his name not to be used, said: "Sam couldn't sleep last night. He said that when he shut his eyes he saw the man jumping out at him shouting."

One of Mr Weissbart's cousins Noah Feld, said both men - who had been friends since attending Pardes House school in Golders Green and had been at the Gateshead Yeshiva before coming to Israel - "wouldn't hurt a fly. They were gentle, special people".

Mr Feld said Mr Weissbart had managed to reach the police station at the Armenian quarter about 300 yards from where the attack took place in David Street, where a small group of ultra-Orthodox mourners gathered to pray yesterday afternoon.

Yoram Halevy, commander of the Old City's police station, said a Palestinian carried out the stabbings. Police said the attack was "nationally" motivated.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power