Tributes paid to Notts missionary worker murdered in Israel
FRIENDS of a Notts missionary worker have spoken of their shock after she was found murdered in Israel.
Kristine Luken’s body was discovered bound and repeatedly stabbed outside Jerusalem.
She and her friend Kay Wilson were out walking on Saturday when they were attacked by two men who asked them for water.
Ms Wilson survived despite being stabbed several times.
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Miss Luken, 44, of Blidworth, was a member of the Trent Vineyard Church, in Lenton.
A statement from John and Debby Wright, senior pastors at the church, said: “We were deeply shocked and saddened at the news of Kristine Luken’s tragic death in Israel.
“Kristine had recently joined our church and people that knew her described her as a beautiful and positive person who showed a real desire to serve those in need. She will be sorely missed.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her family in the USA and with all her friends around the world.”
Miss Luken, who was originally from the USA, moved to Notts to take up a post with missionary organisation CMJ UK in Farnsfield last year.
Robin Aldridge, chief executive of CMJ UK – which stands for the Church’s Ministry among Jewish people – said: “We are deeply shocked by the violent death in Israel of our much-loved administrator Kristine Luken.
“Kristine had worked for the ministry for one year having previously worked for the American government. As a committed Christian with a deep love for the Jewish people she had contact with CMJ in America, Israel and the UK.”
Mr Aldridge said Miss Luken had recently taken on responsibility for Shoresh Tours, a CMJ company which organises tours to Israel.
He said she had been visiting friends in Israel, including Briton Ms Wilson, who is the senior tour guide for Shoresh.
After the attack, Ms Wilson told authorities the assailants at one point carefully removed her Star of David necklace and then stabbed her in the place it had rested on her chest.
Ms Wilson, 46, said: “It all happened so fast. They came and attacked us.
“It was clear that they came to kill. Who carries around a knife like that?”
CMJ UK currently has about 70 workers in Israel, although no others are from Notts.
Mr Aldridge, of Oxton, said: “We have been ministering in Israel since 1840 and this is the first time we have had staff assaulted, let alone killed. This is a tragic and isolated incident.”
He added: “CMJ will continue to share the gospel with the Jewish people and to work for forgiveness and reconciliation in Israel.”
Israeli authorities believe the murder was a politically-motivated attack by two Arab men.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a manhunt was under way. for the assailants.
He said: “The main lead line is that the attack was nationalistic, but we haven’t ruled out the possibility that it was criminal.”