Family of Israeli doctor found dead in IDF uniform: he was murdered

January 17, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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Dr Avi Harlev, a senior doctor at Barzilai Hospital and an officer in the IDF’s reserves, was found dead on Tuesday night in the Lahav Forest, in the vicinity of his home in Har Hebron area.

Dr Avi Harlev Photo: Courtesy

He was found dead while sitting in his car and shot with his weapon. He wearing an IDF uniform after returning from a day in the reserves.

The police have launched an investigation into his death and are exploring the possibility he committed suicide, but his family is convinced he was murdered in a terror attack.

In a statement issued Saturday night, the family rejected the rumours that he committed suicide, and demanded that the police seriously investigate the suspicion that his death was an act of terrorism.

“We reject the unfounded rumours about the circumstances of Avis’ death that have prevailed since his death. We are convinced from the first moment that Avi was murdered. Avi’s future was ahead of him on all levels. He was a very active person, vital and optimistic, a family man loved by many and an outstanding physician in the middle of his professional career,” the family said.

The Harlev family further noted that in recent days Avi participated in making future plans, both in matters concerning the community and as part of his volunteering for the IDF reserve service he intended to continue, as he agreed with the brigade commander a few hours before his death.

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

In a detailed report issued by the family, it noted that similar incidents such as in the murders of Rabbi Moshe Talbi and Yaron Gispan, when the investigators had an initial impression the death were suicides and turned out to be acts of terrorism.

In 2009, Gispan, a resident of Eli, was found dead on the outskirts of the community. His personal weapon was found next to his body. Police defined the case as a suicide, although no conclusive evidence was found. After nine years it became clear that this was a mistake and that Gispan had been murdered on nationalist grounds.

In 2011, Rabbi Talbi was found shot dead on the side of the access road to the community of Revava with his personal weapon next to him. In this case, too, the police determined that it was a suicide, despite evidence showing otherwise. As in Harlev’s case, who informed his wife that he was on his way home, Rabbi Talbi spoke a few minutes before his death with a member of his family and arranged a meeting with him later that day. Only after three years was Rabbi Talbi recognized as a victim of terrorism.

“Especially in this case, when Avi was on his way back from reserve service and wearing an IDF uniform, a comprehensive and exhaustive examination is required,” the family stated.

“We ask and expect from the Israel Police and the security forces, whom we greatly appreciate and cherish, to continue to exhaust the investigation to the end and find the perpetrators,” the family concluded.

Harlev, 50, was a father of five and the grandfather of two.

He was a specialist in gynecology and fertility, managed the IVF unit at Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, and is considered a groundbreaking and renowned specialist in his field.

He published dozens of important scientific articles and was involved in writing and editing medical books.

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