jump to navigation

CMJ staffer murdered in Israel: The Church of England Newspaper, Jan 7, 2011 p 6. January 12, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Israel, Mission Societies/Religious Orders, Terrorism.

Kristine Luken

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

An American staff member with the CMJ UK, the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people, has been murdered while on vacation in Israel.

Kristine Luken (44) an administrator with the CMJ in Nottingham was hiking in a forest southwest of Jerusalem on Dec 18 with fellow CJM staffer, Kay Wilson, a British-born Israeli, when they were approached by two Arab men asking for water.  The men attacked the two women, stabbing each repeatedly.  Ms. Wilson feigned death and survived the attack, but Ms. Luken bled to death.

“They came to kill,” Ms. Wilson said, telling the Israeli media that one of the attackers ripped a Star of David from around her neck and stabbed her where in the place where the star had lain.

“I saw that the stab had not penetrated my heart, and I played dead. While I lay there, I could hear my friend dying. Her breath sounded like bubbles,” Ms. Wilson told Haaretz.

“I waited two minutes, we lay in the corridor. Our hands tied behind our backs and something was covering my mouth,” she said. “It was terribly hard for me to get up, but I managed to go. I saw that we were in a bush area and I did not know then that they had fled. I felt myself getting tired, all I wanted to do was sleep but I knew I could not.”

Ms. Wilson, bleeding from 12 stab wounds, was able to make her way to a parking lot near the popular recreation area, where a passerby found her and alerted the police.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place near the border with the West Bank, nor have any suspects been detained.  Israeli police are treating the attack as a political crime, though they have not ruled out sexual assault as a motive.  Ms. Luken’s body was returned to her family last week and was buried near her home in West Virginia.

The murder has been “an incredible shock,” said Rev. David Pileggi, the vicar of Christ Church Jerusalem said. “We were just weeping. I would describe it as one wave of sadness after another. We still have not recovered from this by any means,” he told an Israeli newspaper.

The CEO of the CMJ, Robin Aldridge, stated the organization was “deeply shocked” by the murder of their “much loved administrator Kristine Luken.  Kristine had worked for the ministry for one year having previously worked for the American government.”

Ms Luken had “just taken on responsibility for Shoresh Tours, a CMJ company that organizes tours to Israel” and was out hiking with her close personal friend, Kay Wilson, Shoresh’s senior tour guide, when they were attacked, he said.

The murder of Ms. Luken was a “tragedy,” and the staff of the CMJ was “praying for her friends and family at this tragic time.  However, CMJ will continue to share the gospel with the Jewish people and to work for forgiveness and reconciliation in Israel.  This is a mandate that God gave us 201 years ago and we are confident that the best epitaph we could give Kristine is to continue to that to which she was totally committed to supporting,” Mr. Aldridge said.

%d bloggers like this: