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CMJ worker murdered in Israel

On Saturday 18 December, Kristine Luken, an administrative secretary with the Churches Ministry among Jewish people at their headquarters in Nottingham, was stabbed to death in the Jerusalem Forest after being attacked by two men. She was with Kay Wilson, a UK-born Messianic believer who is a leading guide with Shoresh Tours, which operates under the auspices of CMJ.

The two women were walking in the forest, which lies between the southern Jerusalem suburb of Tzur Hadassah and the town of Beit Shemesh, when they were approached by two young Arabs who attacked them and tied their hands behind their backs before beginning to stab them. Kay escaped death by pretending to be dead and when she was sure the men had gone, she made for the nearby highway wherea group of people at a children’s playground saw her and called the police. It was feared that Kristine had been kidnapped but her body was found the next morning a few hundred yards from the site of the stabbing.

On 26 January, two Palestinian Arab men were apprehended and confessed to Kristine’s murder and the attempted murder of Kay. It later came to light that the two Palestinian Arabs were part of a 13-man group that had originally been involved in petty crime but after the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai in January 2010, turned to terrorism. “We wanted to kill Jews,” one of the men told the Israeli police.

The men also confessed to the murder of a Jewish schoolteacher near Beit Shemesh in February 2010, to opening fire on Israeli army patrols in Judea and to a long string of home burglaries and car thefts in Beit Shemesh and other Israeli towns. They are also suspected of raping a Jewish woman in 2009. Eight members of the cell have so far been captured.

Naomi Harralson, a friend and former colleague of Kristine, said she “always … had a love for the Jewish people. She felt nowhere more at home than in Israel. Her relationship with God was everything to her.” After Kristine left her job at Patrick Henry College in 2009 to move to the UK to work with CMJ the two kept in touch by email. The last text message from Kristine to her friend said: “Remember to search out the goodness of God in the face of tragedy”.

On 12th January, a celebration for the life and faith of Kristine was held at Holy Trinity church in Southwell. A page dedicated to Kristine can be found at the CMJ website: http://www.cmj.org.uk/home/articles/44.

This article first featured in the Spring Herald 2011

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