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The Beersheba District Court ruled on Sunday that the man who was charged with murdering Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira last July is fit to stand trial, in light of a psychiatric opinion.

Rabbi Elazar, the grandson of the revered Moroccan sage Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali, studied at the famous Porat Yosef yeshiva of kabbalists, and was sought out as a giver of advice and blessings.

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Asher Dahan, 42, has been indicted for the brutal stabbing death of the revered rabbi known as Baba Elazar, whom he allegedly knifed repeatedly in the chest with a 14-inch commando knife after failing to solve marital problems with the rabbi’s advice.  Dahan allegedly hid the knife in his tefillin [phylacteries] bag under his jacket, so he would be able to use it quickly.  Dahan handed Rabbi Abuhatzeira a note and said “In the name of God, we will act and succeed”, an adage used during attempts to achieve difficult things.

Court-appointed psychiatrists determined that Dahan was capable of distinguishing between right and wrong at the time of the crime, in contradiction to his attorney, who argued that Dahan is mentally ill.  Several weeks ago, a Be’er Sheva district psychiatrist recommended that Dahan be sent to a mental hospital rather than jail to await trial.  However, a panel of psychiatrists stated that while Dahan suffers from “disorders”, he is not mentally ill.

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Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.