Manar Abu Hajaj, a 34-year-old mother, had no enemies, said her brother. She was not known to the authorities. But the evening of Sept. 5, masked assailants were waiting for her when she returned home with her twin 14-year-old daughters. Before they could get out of the car, Manar and her daughter Khadra were killed and her sister was wounded as she tried to run away.
The police think the double murder may have been retaliation against Abu Hajaj’s husband, a suspected criminal who fled the country years ago and is believed to be in Morocco.
Samah Salaime, Head of Na’am Arab Women in the Center said: “He is safely in hiding and letting his family take the consequences. The crime organizations here fear no one.”
“Of the nine Arab women killed in the country this year,” she added, “four have been from Ramla and Lod.”
Fida Shada, a Lod city councilwoman who lives across from Abu Hajaj and heard the shots from her apartment, added that no one feels safe in these days in Lod: “Those bullets could have hit anyone,” she said.
Prime Minister Lapid expressed horror at the murders and said the police presence in Lod will be increased.
Unfortunately, a few weeks of extra police visibility is a Band-Aid for a gaping wound. Stopping the crime “families,” and preventing the murders of women and children will take the concerted efforts of the criminal and justice systems, the municipal and national governments and the communities. Israel has the means, but it must find the will. The killing has to stop.