Bibi's hairdresser, the wife, the lover and the suicide

Patrick Cockburn@indyworld
Sunday 23 October 2011 02:14

Nobody knows who fired first but by the time the shooting ended, David Afuta, hairdresser to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, and his girlfriend, Anat Elimelech, had died. Patrick Cockburn reports from Jerusalem on a double killing that has gripped the nation.

The potential for violence is everywhere in Israel, but Israelis were still shocked to learn that David Afuta, 38, hairdresser to Benjamin and Sarah Netanyahu, had died after being shot twice in the chest. Beside him, shot with a single bullet in his apartment in Jerusalem, was Anat Elimelech, 23, his girlfriend and a successful model, who had been intending to leave him.

Nobody knows who shot first and afterwards committed suicide. Investigators say there were signs of a struggle before the shots were fired. "I am absolutely stunned and shocked," said Sarah Netanyahu. "I think that disagreements of all types should be solved by discussion."

Police investigators are divided about what happened during the last moments of the couple. They had been together for six years, but Ms Elimelech was frustrated that Mr Afuta's previous wife, by whom he had two children, was refusing to give him a divorce.

When she threatened to leave him Mr Afuta threatened to kill her. Earlier this week he called a friend from his rented apartment at Beit Hakarem Heights, in Jerusalem, and told him: "I'm in a serious depression."

Ms Elimelech was appearing on a television show and only arrived home at 8am. Police say the two had an argument. Three shots were heard. Mr Afuta's brother and Ms Elimelech's father had tried and failed to get them on the phone in the apartment.

The two families, knowing the tension between the two, tried to get into the apartment and, when the door was not answered, broke in through roof and found the bodies.

Police investigators are divided about exactly what happened. Mr Afuta had been depressed and threatened her because she wanted to leave him. He was strong and a good shot and might have been able to shoot himself twice after killing her. On the other hand, the gun was powerful and was found near Ms Elimelech's hand. One of his friends was quoted as saying she was angry because "he wasted money and she was forced to support him."

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